Bennington Downtown Alliance
 Board Meeting Minutes

September 14, 2017
 Downtown Visitor Center

The mission of the Bennington Downtown Alliance is
to lead and support public and private efforts that promote and enhance downtown
as the vital commercial and cultural heart of the community

Present: Interim President Eric Peterson, Michael Keane, Heather Maneely, Ted Bird, Beth Wilwol, Shelley Colvin, Edie Sawitsky, Keith Carey, Michael McDonough and Zirwat Chowdhury*. Staff: John Shannahan and Diane Perry. *Ex-officio
Absent: Jeannie Jenkins and Kelly Clarke.

Call to Order
                    A quorum was confirmed by President Eric Peterson who then convened the meeting at 7:34 am.

                    The August 2017 board minutes were reviewed. Action/Resolution- Motion to accept the August minutes was made by ­­Edie Sawitsky, seconded by Ted Bird. All in favor. Motion carried. Minutes accepted as presented.

Financial Report             Executive Director John Shannahan reported on the financials which were reviewed at the Organizational level. All is in order. Action/Resolution- a motion to approve was made by Michael Keane, seconded by Beth Wilwol. Motion carried.

Director’s Report Discussion regarding report:

  • ·        Pop-up store front – John and Zirwat are working with some members of BAAC on opening a store prototype. These members have experience working in the food industry. Part of the concept is to showcase local produce and farms for an on-site eatery, all the while hosting various local artists of various types. The hopes are to meet the needs of an evening culture in Bennington.  One challenge is that there are not enough available locations or landlords to secure space for a pop-up store. Action/Resolution – they are meeting with the Banner building landlord to discuss availability. This pop-up store is projected to start immediately.
  • ·        Grow Bennington Initiative – some projects that would benefit downtown are lighting a series of 25 area trees, which the group agrees would have a quick impact and make a big difference in the vibrancy of Bennington. The lights would stay lit after the holidays to keep Bennington looking vibrant. Other projects in discussion are downtown signage and to expand BIB to include storefronts to keep the vibrancy all year. Action/Resolution - getting price quotes on tree lighting.

Committee Reports

  • ·        Economic Development committee is preparing to recruit certain type of stores, such as Vermont icons. The Vermont Country Store will be contacted, along with Vermont Teddy Bear, Vermont Flannel, and others. These iconic stores will continue to brand Vermont Begins Here marketing, as well as helping smaller homegrown businesses succeed. One such business is a food and catering service that makes Indian food with a Vermont twist. Action/Resolution – EDC will continue its efforts in recruitment.
  • ·        Park at 336- Steve Tatro has agreed to be the park’s contractor. He will meet with RJ Jolly to set up a schedule for the work projected to be completed before winter. Action/Resolution - changes are being drawn up to incorporate a chalkboard and final fountain structure.

 Old Business

  • ·        TIF – the Select Board voted in favor for TIF. Thank you to John and Eric for their input to the Select Board. Public knowledge and education must occur in order to support any subsequent bond resulting from TIF which must be approved by voters. This ongoing outreach should be focused post-VEPC approval of TIF. The VEPC Board will be coming to Bennington on October 26th.  Action/Resolution –add a TIF educational component to our work plans.
  • ·        Charter Review Committee - the first public hearing of the Charter Review Committee will be on September 27th at the Fire Station at 5:30pm. 

New Business

  • ·        BAAC – received its 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS. Action/Resolution – none noted.


     Eric Peterson called for the adjournment of the meeting at 9:00am. Action/Resolution - a motion was made to adjourn by Edie Sawitsky, seconded by Heather Maneely. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Beth Wilwol, Secretary
Bennington Downtown Alliance


Bennington Downtown Alliance
215 South Street
Beautiful Bennington, Vermont 05201

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