Home News and Features Community and Business News in Brief, Feb. 7, 2024

Community and Business News in Brief, Feb. 7, 2024


Montpelier Gets Planning Grant

The city of Montpelier was recently granted $11,000 in a municipal planning grant from the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development. According to a list of projects from the department, the city will use the money to “complete its new city plan, which will be a digital, web-based plan that will be easier and more accessible for the public to use. The Municipal Planning Grant will facilitate public input and help them finish the website.”

The total project cost is $12,350, so with the grant, the city’s portion is $1,350.

—Cassandra Hemenway

Photo by Linda Radtke.

Name of the Day Gets a Rose

Is your name Nelson? Come get a rose! Forget-Me-Not Flowers and Gifts has revived its “Name of the Day.”

“We have a big jar on the counter and ask folks to throw a bunch of names in there,” says Alexis Dexter from Forget-Me-Not Flowers and Gifts in downtown Barre. 

 “There are about 300. Then every day we choose a name from the jar and give out a free rose to anyone who stops by with that name. Sometimes we pull a name that probably has only one person in the state of Vermont! And people still come in to add a name to the jar.” 

The Name of the Day idea began about three years ago and was restarted after the July flood. Forget-Me-Not Flowers and Gifts also raises spirits by the “Petal It Forward” day in October, giving out free bouquets to pass on to strangers. 

—Linda Radtke

Flood Recovery Commission to Host Forum 

The Montpelier Commission for Recovery and Resilience (MCRR) will host a public forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 at Montpelier High School. Community members are encouraged to attend. This will offer a chance to hear what the Commission has been working on since it was established and to weigh in on the Commission’s priorities and future activities.

The MCRR was created by the community over the course of three public forums that were held in the wake of the July 2023 floods. In those same meetings, community members set the priorities and direction for the Commission’s work. Since then, the Commission has organized those priorities into strategic topic areas and has begun acting on them. The strategic topic areas include:

  • Watershed management 
  • Adaptive Downtown
  • Emergency Response Planning
The forum will begin with a brief introduction from Commission members, then hold interactive breakout sessions to ensure community members offer input on priorities that fall within each of these strategic topic areas. For more information about the public forum, visit montpelierstrong.org.

—press release

Dan Jones Runs for Montpelier Mayor

Dan Jones has announced his run for mayor of Montpelier. He said the tag line from his 2023 campaign, “It’s time to do the hard stuff,” is more relevant today than last year. Jones said he feels privileged to be part of the community and thinks he has the knowledge and skills to bring together city councilors and citizens “in an effort to build a more resilient and prosperous local future.”

“This is a choice election,” he said. “It is time to decide if we continue the status quo approach to local government or whether we want to start vigorously addressing the range of local challenges that have been allowed to fester for years. We need to start considering the city we are leaving to our children, not just maintaining our current comforts.”

“Our city faces a number of critical challenges made worse by the July floods and the lack of credible emergency response capacity by our city. We have a workforce housing crisis, our infrastructure is decaying dangerously, and our tax demands are threatening many longtime members of our community. Our flood-ravaged downtown merchants are doing their best to adapt to a drastic drop in state-worker customers, working remotely since the COVID crisis.”

Jones chaired the city energy committee in 2014 and 2015, and spearheaded the city’s pledge toward net–zero carbon emissions. He co-organized the Sustainable Montpelier Design Competition, garnering ideas from around the world to envision redesigning the city to meet oncoming climate and technological challenges. As Director of the Sustainable Montpelier Coalition, he helped coordinate MyRide of on-demand local transport.

“We need more development models to radically shift away from our city’s massive mis-allocation of land to parking lots,” he said.

As mayor, Jones said he would look for “newer, systematic approaches to our future priorities. We should focus our city administrative staff on finding federal and state support needed to fix our fragile, deferred maintenance infrastructure.”

Montpelier’s weak mayor/strong manager system of governance limits the city’s ability to more rapidly adapt, Jones said. “However, we currently have a city council with notable skills and imagination. Unfortunately, the current system does not make any good use of this talent. I believe we can bring the council together to start demanding the focused, long-term, government priorities to not only meet our current challenges, but also to be prepared for those coming down the line. We owe it to our children to start ensuring a resilient city will be there for their future.”

Contact Jones at 617-817-3638 or dan@siteprod.com.

—press release