The mission of The Barre Partnership is to “stimulate and sustain economic development in Barre’s designated downtown, ensuring a vibrant community that is the social, cultural and economic hub of the greater Barre area.” No one can argue that this is not a worthy mission — a mission that everyone in the greater Barre area, including both Barre city and Barre Town, should support.
If this mission is going to be realized at this critical time in Barre’s downtown revitalization, a communitywide commitment and strong, effective leadership are required. As the certified organization of Barre’s designated downtown, The Barre Partnership is ready to lead the charge, but to do so it needs everyone in the Barre-area community to think and speak positively and optimistically, and to roll up their sleeves and pitch in.
Pitching in can take many forms and degrees of commitment. It could mean supporting the partnership’s efforts with a financial donation or serving on one of our goal-driven committees — marketing and promotions, design and streetscape, economic enhancement, community outreach — or simply volunteering for a single task like putting up posters or passing out fliers. But if this mission is ever going to be realized it first requires the strong leadership of a dedicated board of directors made up of decisive, action-oriented leaders with the knowledge and experience, or even interest, in the specific areas necessary to help drive the organization’s initiatives and activities.
That leadership needs to come from a strong team effort with players coming from a variety of fields including but not limited to lenders, developers, property owners, business owners, building and landscape architects, historic preservationists, marketing and social media consultants, professionals, community leaders, civic organization representatives and interested citizens.
The work that needs to be done cannot be accomplished by retail merchants alone, although for obvious reasons retail merchants are a key group to have represented at the table. But retail promotions alone do not a successful downtown make. There are buildings to renovate, building facades to improve, market research to be done, a market strategy to develop, an image to build, new businesses to recruit, existing businesses to assist, new events to put on, tourism to attract, strong financial support to build, a volunteer culture to create, and so much more.
None of this will get done without new energy and new ideas leading the way. The Barre Partnership needs new board members now — community-minded people with professional experience and leadership accomplishments in business, government, philanthropy or the nonprofit sector. Diplomatic skills and a natural affinity for cultivating relationships and persuading, convening, facilitating and building consensus among the diverse stakeholders in our downtown’s success are a must. But most importantly, we need people with a commitment to and understanding of our community and the willingness to roll up their sleeves and get things done.
For information on The Barre Partnership and its board of directors, and how you can make a difference at this exciting but critical time in downtown Barre’s revitalization, contact me at 477-2967 or firstname.lastname@example.org.MORE IN Central Vermont
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