Editorial: Keep the train moving
The high interest in Middlebury’s Kick Start campaign, run by the Better Middlebury Partnership, is encouraging news to a town that has seen its downtown eviscerated by the better part of four years of road and bridge construction. A half dozen entrepreneurs were awarded grants of $15,000-$20,000 to jumpstart their business ideas into reality. By the stated rules, those businesses must open shop within six months.
That’s pre-Christmas and one might assume a Herculean effort will be made to get things up and running months before that to capture fall foliage and holiday sales.
Dozens of other business-savvy folks presented ideas for a new business in Middlebury as well, and with luck some of them will be encouraged to find a way to open new doors to prospective customers as well. At last check, we had 10-12 vacant storefronts within the downtown area, so there’s ample space for new faces and we’d all appreciate fresh energy and business enthusiasm.
Equally important in this effort is that the town stepped forward with a $50,000 grant, another $50,000 from a charitable nonprofit called Table 21, $10,000 from the Middlebury Rotary Club and another $10,000 from an anonymous donor. It’s a signal that it does take some incentive to move the needle and that there are folks out there willing to help.
Here’s hoping the effort is ongoing and the momentum continues.