Better Middlebury Partnership

Regarding the story in last week’s Addison Independent about the Better Middlebury Partnership’s plan to ask for $1,000 each from six surrounding towns to support economic development in Middlebury:  The residents of the surrounding towns are currently supporting Middlebury with a 1% local sales tax. I think it would be appropriate to use those funds rather than an assessment on our towns. Edward Payne Bridport
MIDDLEBURY — The Better Middlebury Partnership, which has organized some activities between Thanksgiving and Christmas, has another sweet thing planned for the holidays. Local merchants in December will be selling specially produced Midd Nib Bars, which are dark chocolate with gingerbread, toffee and pecans.  The bars are $10 each, which benefits the community building efforts of the BMP. Each Midd Nib Bar comes with a golden ticket (sound familiar, Willy Wonka?). Keep your ticket and the MBP will draw winning numbers from the tickets on Dec. 31 and post the winners online. The golden tickets...
Bravo to Karen Duguay, Amey Ryan and others at the Better Middlebury Partnership. I’m delighted the Better Middlebury Partnership is stepping up to the challenge facing our community. I’ve just sent my check for $500 to help with your efforts. My concern is that BMP and the town of Middlebury may underestimate the difficulty of restoring a healthy downtown. I hope others — neighboring towns, institutions and individuals — will contribute generously. Specifically, I encourage BMP to seek a $50,000 contribution from Vermont Rail System, a principal proponent and beneficiary of the four year, $...

THE PERFORMANCE ART troupe Cirque de Fuego are scheduled to perform their fire-based outdoor entertainment on Merchants Row in Middlebury on Dec. 3 in conjunction with the Bundle Up outdoor market that late afternoon and evening.
MIDDLEBURY — As with all else in 2020, public activities in Middlebury will be different this holiday season. But the Better Middlebury Partnership and the local businesses and boosters it represents nevertheless have a slate of activities designed to lighten spirits and put everyone in a holiday mood. A couple holiday traditions continue as always. To set the stage, BMP volunteers and members of the Middlebury Fire Department strung seasonal holiday wreaths and hung them from lamp posts in downtown. The annual Very Merry Middlebury holiday kick-off is, sadly, not going to happen in 2020. But...

MIDDLEBURY HAS AT least a dozen storefronts that have become empty for a variety of reasons. Here's one on the end of the Battell Block. Independent photo/Angelo Lynn
MIDDLEBURY — The Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP) is looking to beef up its annual budget locally and through contributions from six neighboring communities as it works to help downtown Middlebury rebound from the impacts of a massive rail tunnel project and an eight-month-old COVID-19 pandemic that is currently surging. Karen Duguay, executive director of the BMP, recently presented the Middlebury selectboard with a fiscal year 2022 request for $30,000 in town funding, up $5,000 from this year. In addition, the BMP will ask for $1,000 each from the towns of Bridport, Cornwall, Ripton,...
When faced with solving a problem, the first step is admitting there is one.  The Better Middlebury Partnership presented the Middlebury selectboard Tuesday night with a request to boost town funding for the organization by an overly modest $5,000 — from $25,000 to $30,000 — to help a retail community battered beyond recognition by three years of road construction, the crippling effects of the pandemic and a shift in consumer shopping habits to online retailers. The hard reality is that Middlebury’s downtown — once thriving — has more than a dozen prime storefront vacancies, eight of those on...
This week’s writers are Julie Basol of the Vergennes Partnership, Ian Albinson of Bristol Core, and Karen Duguay of Better Middlebury Partnership. Addison County residents,  The following letter was sent on Sept. 2 to the Vermont Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, as well as to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development.  Collectively, the 23 designated downtowns in Vermont (including Better Middlebury Partnership, Bristol Core and Vergennes Partnership) are advocating for the support of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s “...
MIDDLEBURY — A slate of activities aimed at drawing shoppers into downtown Middlebury this summer during the massive rail bridges project have been canceled due to social distancing requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the pop-up store “Bundle” at 51 Main St. has closed — again due to the coronavirus. But the Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP) and the citizens group “Neighbors, Together,” are now organizing supports for downtown merchants that aren’t dependent on large crowds. They include a series of challenges that encourage shoppers to support local stores,...

MIDDLEBURY — For the first time in its history, the Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP) is asking for out-of-town donations to help subsidize the special holiday and recreational events — like the annual Spooktacular and WinterFest — that county residents have come to enjoy through the years. The BMP’s financial crunch has become more acute in recent years because it has had to drop a few popular fundraising events that have been key in underwriting its annual slate of activities. Chief among the fundraiser casualties was the annual Vermont Chili Fest, which attracted 40-50 chefs and...
MIDDLEBURY — Representatives of the Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP) and the organization called Neighbors, Together on Tuesday told the Middlebury selectboard they have been making good use of the town’s $228,750 Vermont Agency of Transportation grant awarded to the town a year ago to soften the impact of the ongoing project to replace two downtown rail bridges. That multi-year project is projected to wrap up its most disruptive phase next August, and its impact on Middlebury’s downtown is expected to be greatest next summer. That’s when both Main Street and Merchants Row will be closed...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100