• So much happening in Barre
    May 06,2013
     

    By Dan Jones

    Normally with the kind of beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing recently, neighbors or colleagues would greet each other with a comment about the weather.

    But these days almost everyone in Barre is beginning their conversations with, “Have you seen City Place?” If you haven’t seen the progress on the Barre City Place building recently, its massive steel frame virtually sprouted out of the ground overnight, bringing into focus just how big a presence it will have in our downtown.

    And then there is the CVCAC building off of Granite Street that is surprisingly large in its own right.

    And let’s not forget the Blanchard Block and Aldrich Block renovations.

    These are all signs of the well documented revitalization of downtown Barre and, by extension, the greater Barre area. With the final touches to Barre’s “Big Dig” well underway downtown Barre’s physical makeover will soon be complete. But there is the possibility that the overwhelming optimism and enthusiasm over downtown Barre’s revitalization may wane a bit once the final pavement has been laid and the last tree has been planted.

    Even if that happens, though, it won’t last for long. All of these new and renovated buildings in our downtown mean just one thing — jobs, hundreds of jobs.

    Literally hundreds of people will soon be working in our downtown and that can only mean great things for our local businesses and property owners. Those new workers will bring with them various needs and wants that will need to be met. They will be grabbing a quick bite to eat or sitting down for a leisurely meal with a client. They will be enjoying a mid-morning cup of coffee and pastry or an after-work craft beer with a colleague. They will be buying a book to read on that trip to the coast or a card and gift for a birthday or anniversary. They will be doing their banking or getting their shoes repaired or buying paint for the new baby’s room.

    I could go on and on, but the point is that it will be a huge boost to our local economy and the overall vitality of our downtown. And that means that new entrepreneurs will finally begin to fill the empty storefronts that still exist.

    There are truly great things happening in downtown Barre and the future looks bright.

    On June 7 the Barre Partnership and downtown Barre will be proudly hosting the annual conference of the Vermont Downtown Program and Preservation Trust of Vermont. The Barre Partnership lobbied hard to have this year’s conference in Barre as an opportunity to show off our downtown and our renewed community pride. Approximately 250 people including Main Street Program Directors like myself, city planners, and historic preservationists will come to see downtown Barre as a model of downtown revitalization in Vermont.

    It is Barre’s time to shine and I have no doubt that it will. The Partnership as local coordinators will need local volunteers to help with a variety of tasks including manning the registration/welcome table, guiding visitors to various meeting sites, helping with the awards banquet and more. If you are interested in being the face of Barre’s community pride to these important visitors to our downtown, contact me at director@thebarrepartnership.com or 477-2967.



    Dan Jones is executive director of the Barre Partnership.

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