In 2007, the Killington Growth Initiative (KGI), a community group composed of business leaders, local government and residents, identified key challenges before the town, including a depressed economy, decline in cultural activities, lack of sustainable year-round economy, poor communication, and a strained relationship between Killington Resort and community members. KGI worked with the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) to launch a Community Visit Program in the Town of Killington in January of 2008.
During the Community Visit Program more than 250 Killington residents reflected on the many assets of our community and articulated a vision for our town. Residents outlined community goals and proposed actions which were summarized by the VCRD in the “Town of Killington Report and Community Action Plan” in 2008. The intent of the report was to guide town leaders’ work so that they would grow Killington’s economy and sense of community. Its principal goals were to build a strong Mountain/Town partnership, grow the four season events, develop a comprehensive marketing plan, and build an indoor/outdoor events center. The plan also called out actions such as developing outdoor assets such as trails, creating a town center, improving the sense of arrival, and advancing renewable energy as key opportunities and challenges.
Eight years have passed since residents initiated a focus on community and economic development; therefore, our commission wanted to take a look back and see how we’ve done at achieving the lofty goals established by community members. It is our belief that understanding our experience can help guide us in the future. This report outlines our findings.
In summary, we found that we have been largely successful in advancing the goals articulated by residents. From a policy perspective, the vision articulated by residents has been driven through the Selectboard’s adoption of its Strategic Plan and this has been supported by the Town’s Economic Development Strategic Plan.
While we have made tremendous progress and are well positioned to continue, there is so much more to be done. A large part of our recent successes is due to the fact that the growth agenda was created and guided by residents. To ensure residents continue to guide the focus, we have invited the VCRD team to return to Killington on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., to facilitate a follow-up town meeting and help us update, confirm, and prioritize existing and new goals for the next 10-20 years.
Chair Bill Ackerman, Nancy Koch, Bernie Krasnoff, Rob Megnin, Gerrie Russell
Killington’s Economic Development and Tourism Commission