Op - Ed
February 9, 2016

60 reasons I love Rutland

By Steve Costello

I’ve long believed that one of Rutland’s greatest problems is a tendency toward overly negative self criticism, so when I heard about McNeil and Reedy’s contest celebrating its 60th anniversary, I was thrilled. The contest is simple: List 60 things you love about Rutland.

Thanks to McNeil and Reedy for the idea, and here’s hoping thousands take the time to catalogue what they love about Rutland. Here’s my list:

  1. Anyone can have a positive, outsized impact in a city this size.
  2. Art in the Park.
  3. At night, steps from downtown, the sky is brilliant.
  4. Catamount Radio includes the most community-oriented people I know.
  5. City politicians know how to disagree without being disagreeable.
  6. Collaboration is part of local DNA.
  7. Downtown Rutland is home to an amazing collection of architecture.
  8. Three colleges have locations in the city.
  9. Fresh chocolates are made daily at Vermont Truffle Company!
  10. Friday Night Live.
  11. Green Mountain Rock Climbing.
  12. Half a dozen lakes are within a 30-minute drive.
  13. Heritage Family’s Shiver Me Shamrocks 5K is the most fun I’ve ever had running!
  14. Immigrants largely built it, and the Old-World influence remains.
  15. I’ve never known anywhere where so many people will work their butts off without caring who gets the credit.
  16. It hosts the best Halloween Parade anywhere.
  17. It’s one of the safest cities in America.
  18. National awards – a ton of them – for Rutland Regional Medical Center!
  19. Nine of Vermont Business Magazine’s 40 2015 Rising Stars were from Rutland or surrounding towns!
  20. Our downtown features an eclectic mix of locally owned standbys like McNeil and Reedy, funky new places like Slightly Off Center, Pure Original and Fruition, and the Energy Innovation Center.
  21. Parking downtown is incredibly easy and accessible.
  22. Peg-TV is a no-cost resource for dozens of nonprofits, and a font of information.
  23. People care about their neighbors.
  24. Pine Hill Park offers world-class mountain biking.
  25. Project VISION demonstrates the power of caring.
  26. Real estate is relatively inexpensive – and there are gorgeous, historic houses everywhere.
  27. RPD demonstrated real integrity in addressing its problems, creating community bonds and attacking crime – in partnership with the city’s people.
  28. Rutland City water tastes really good!
  29. Rutland Free Library has strong community support.
  30. Rutland holds the national record for a one-day blood drive!
  31. Rutland is hip – even if everyone hasn’t realized it.
  32. Rutland is the Solar Capital of New England.
  33. Rutland Rec is an underappreciated treasure.
  34. Rutland Young Professionals have provided new leadership and given young pros a voice, opportunities to connect, and energy.
  35. Rutlanders shine brightest when the chips are down.  (Think of the Nor’Icane, Irene, etc.)
  36. Secret Santa chose Rutland to make his rounds.
  37. Small-town camaraderie abounds, but we’re just a few hours to Boston, New York, the ocean or Montreal.
  38. Solar City IPA at Hop ‘n Moose Brewery.
  39. The business community is incredibly generous to local nonprofits.
  40. The Creek Path and other trails provide great off-road biking.
  41. The Crowley Brothers Road Race is one of New England’s oldest and best races.
  42. The Green Mountain National Forest offers miles of trails, blueberry picking and wildlife watching all around us.
  43. The Paramount provides world-class entertainment.
  44. The people of Rutland are a caring, tenacious people.
  45. The Rutland Railroad Museum is a gem.
  46. The Service Building is a mini skyscraper.
  47. The view from Campbell Road is stunning.
  48. There are at least six art galleries in downtown!
  49. We don’t have rush hour.  We have rush 10 minutes.
  50. We have an extraordinary number of business and community leaders who live or work here and lead by example for the benefit of others – including Dave Wolk, Mark Foley, Paul Gallo, Steve Sawyer, Carrie Allen, Donald Billings, Larry Jensen, Mary Moran, Rebecca Buonadonna, Tom and Tricia Huebner, John Casella, Michael Gauthier, John Russell Jr., Marleen Cenate – and far too many others to list.
  51. We have a great high school and tech center.
  52. We have one of the few locally owned, independently operated daily newspapers in the country.  It’s locally written, locally focused and community obsessed.
  53. We have the finest farmer’s market in the state.
  54. We have top-notch restaurants for every taste.
  55. We’re 15 minutes from the best downhill skiing in the east, 20 from one of the most beautiful XC ski centers anywhere – Mountain Top Inn & Resort.
  56. We’re 20 minutes to Lefferts Pond and Chittenden Reservoir, where you can see moose, ospreys, loons and eagles with a little luck.
  57. When someone asks for help, they are usually inundated with support.
  58. Winter in August. Love everything about it.
  59. Wonderfeet Children’s Museum is fun for all ages.
  60. 53 people, businesses and couples chipped in $1,000 each – with no guarantees – to help get a phenomenal bookstore into downtown – which with its sister stores has been named a finalist for Publishers Weekly’s Bookstore of the Year!

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