Across Vermont, communities are investing in historic, centrally located buildings in an effort to transform them into spaces where people can come together.
In January 2018, a community group in Guilford took ownership of the historic, 123-year-old Broad Brook Grange. The group recently completed phase one of renovations and is utilizing the building for community-wide events such as brunches and dinners. These types of renovations are happening throughout the state – Norwich volunteers are preparing to renovate Root Schoolhouse, a one room schoolhouse built in 1937, Marlboro just opened a community center in an old meeting house and Westford turned a nearly 120-year-old church into a performance venue.
Vermont towns are using restoration as a way to fight population decline while still maintaining their unique identity and community. This trend comes on the heels of the state’s strong push to expand Vermont’s population. One state initiative is the Stay to Stay Weekend program, which offers pre-planned weekends that encourage tourists to move to Vermont permanently.