On October 7, 2020

Town and resort create new partnerships during pandemic

By Curt Peterson

While partnerships have long been pursued to benefit the town of Killington and Killington Resort, the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed partnerships in new directions.

According to Amy Laramie, communications and guest experience manager for Killington Resort, and Sarah Newell, recreation director for the town, residents and visitors alike have benefited from a variety of new partnerships.

Sarah Newell

Food drives

One of the first  efforts, which have continued through the summer, were the grocery giveaways where the resort and town provided food to local residents in need. The first was held at the resort soon after it closed in March, with four more held at Castleton’s School of Resort management, and another (comprised of all local foods) held last month at Pico Mountain. In total, thousands of bags of groceries have been given away.

Fireworks plan becomes example for state

Another new collaboration occurred after Independence Day fireworks were cancelled by the pandemic. Newell called Laramie  and they came up with a novel way to bring the community together while adhering to Covid health and safety precautions set by the state.

“Having a partner like Amy I can call at the resort means 90% of achieving a goal,” Newell said.

The resort organized local parking areas for a drive-in fireworks. Killington Police and Fire Departments assisted, and the town funded the fireworks.

Local Vermont House Rep. Jim Harrison championed the idea at the state level, and it was approved, then became a model for other towns to use.

“Jim was very helpful,” Laramie said. “And he worked as one of our parking attendants, making sure cars were socially distanced and spectators’ chairs were within an arm’s length of their vehicles.”

Amy Laramie

Learning hub at Pico?

The newest partnership underway could create a learning pod for local students at Pico Mountain.

Killington is part of the Windsor Central Supervisory Union District, where students are currently in school two days a week and learning remotely for three.

Laramie and Newell have been working with district Superintendent Sherry Sousa, Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth, the Killington “Play it Forward Fund” and Vermont Community Foundation (VCF) to provide a full-day program at Pico Mountain’s Trekkers Den for Killington Elementary students and Resort employees’ kids up to grade 6.

“Staffing will depend on how VCF approves our use of funding,” Laramie said.

Newell will oversee the program, if it is approved.

The program would be part of Vermont’s Hub program, administered by the Agency of Commerce & Community Development, which seeks to create 50 facilities statewide to enhancing the learning experience for remote students.

The resort has historically provided childcare for its employees and local residents, which will continue, Laramie said.

Powder Corp., which owns the resort, and its president John Cummings, through the Cummings Family Foundation, have provided $2.25 million to help communities that host their resorts to weather the pandemic, and for post-pandemic support as well. Killington received $350,000, which is being administered by VCF.

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