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Join the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Department of Housing and Community Development on Thursday June 9, 2022 for the Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference, hosted by the Town of St. Johnsbury.

This will be an in person event without virtual offerings.

Breakfast and Networking: 8:00-8:45 am

Location: Tent on Brantview Lawn, St. Johnsbury Academy


Opening Plenary: 8:45-10:45 am

Location: Tent on Brantview Lawn, St. Johnsbury Academy

Opening Remarks and Awards

Ben Doyle, Preservation Trust of Vermont
Sarah Waring, USDA Rural Development
Senator Leahy Video Remarks
Honoring Local Legislators
Preservation Awards

Keynote Panel

Moderator: Moderator: Ben Doyle, Preservation Trust of Vermont
Panelist: Chris Dussault, St. Johnsbury Academy Faculty & Class Dean
Panelist: Geoffrey Sewake, Co-Owner and Brewer, Whirligig Brewing
Panelist: Joe Kasprzak, St. Johnsbury Assistant Town Manager
Panelist: Molly Stone, Artistic Director, Catamount Arts
Panelist: Tracy Zschau, Co-Owner, Kingdom Table and Taproom

Morning Session, 11:15-12:30

Mid Century School to Modern Day Apartments
Join the Housing Trust of Rutland County and Arnold and Scangas Architects as they discuss the creative transformation of a 1950’s mid-century school into 19 residential units, half designated to those experiencing homelessness.

Timeless and Timely: Making History on Social Media
What you show and say about your community on social media reaches beyond the boundaries of traditional print. Social media invites engagement and can generate interest in historic themes. Learn about strategies that help people appreciate the old and new together through social posts that include images and video.

New Life for New Avenue: Revitalization of a former hotel in Downtown St. Johnsbury
In May 2021, Evernorth, RuralEdge, and NDSCP LLC acquired New Avenue and began a $14 million construction effort to transform this prominent downtown building into 40 beautiful new apartments with renovated first-floor storefront spaces. Learn about the process and partners and celebrate the success of the completed project.

Connected Communities
Explore Vermont community trail systems that are creating a vision for recreation-focused lifestyles while making connections to support economic vitality in downtown and village centers and neighboring communities.

It Takes a Village: Community-Driven Childcare Solutions
Childcare is essential to the well-being of Vermont, but nearly all our towns and villages lack the childcare slots to meet the needs of young families. Learn how groups like Peacham Children’s Center, and Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation are tackling the challenge and finding creative solutions.

St. Johnsbury Tasting Tour (20 slots)
Learn about how St. Johnsbury built a downtown landscape filled with delicious and diverse food, craft beverages, and artisanal products. This walking tour featuring tasting stops at Pica-pica Filipino Cuisine, St. Johnsbury Distillery (with Genuine Jamaican), Anthony’s Diner, Cosmic Cup Cafe, and Whirligig Brewing (with Boule Bakery) and will be led by the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce and local food professionals.

All Aboard! Danville’s Quest to Repurpose a Treasured Historic Asset
The Village 2 Village Master Plan, funded by a Better Connections grant ignited and inspired community support for rehabilitating an historic but underutilized train station.  Learn how the Danville Train Station Committee (DTSC) is building a broad community coalition to re-imagine the train station for its next life as an economic engine on the LVRT. This project can serve as a model for other downtowns and village centers along the route to capitalize on the opportunities from the expansion of the 93-mile long LVRT.

Early Afternoon Session, 2:00-3:15

The Rail Road: Connecting Communities on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail
The former St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain Railroad will reopen in 2023 as a 93-mile rail trail, New England’s longest, connecting St. Johnsbury to Swanton. Decades of studies, engineering, and collaboration between citizens, non-profits, and government made it possible to transform this historic resource and spur revitalization in adjacent communities.

Reimagining Rockingham: Incremental Development to Make Big Changes
In Rockingham, a surge of interested stakeholders are coming together for a common goal – to reimagine Rockingham. Join a local panel as they walk you through the adventure, from community visioning to gaining and maintaining momentum, as they tackle housing, community development, and downtown vibrancy.

Small Housing, Big Results
Want to encourage appropriately scaled housing in your town? Learn how to make community housing friendly, hear about the challenges faced by groups as they undertake small-scale projects, and leave feeling inspired by success stories that can be replicated in small towns and village centers.

Creative Economic Development
Join Catamount Arts Executive Director, Jody Fried, for a conversation regarding economic development in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom through placemaking strategies at the intersection of the creative, recreational, and food sectors.

Equitable and Inclusive Downtowns: Supporting BIPOC Owned Businesses
Vermont’s Downtowns have many BIPOC owned businesses that contribute to the local economy and dynamism of our communities. Their success is vital to Vermont’s future. While many of the challenges they face are common to all business owners, others are unique. In this session, we will hear about the experiences of BIPOC owners of downtown businesses, learn about ways to better support them, and think about how we can ensure that downtowns are a place where everyone can feel welcome.

St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Walking Tour (25 slots)
Join the St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center for a walking tour af Main Street. Explore the amazing local architecture and history and see examples of recent investments in architecturally significant properties.

Late Afternoon Session, 3:45-5:00

Main Street Outside!
This panel discussion will focus on the creative ways that three Vermont towns have intentionally opened public spaces to support local busineses. Panelists will share their stories followed by an interactive workshop with session participants.

Reimagining Third Spaces in a Hybrid World
Main Streets are magical, but what happens when they fail to keep up with a quickly changing world? Learn how to leverage technology and innovation in a rural environment, how to involve the community in reimagining gathering spaces, and what it means to create spaces that evolve over time.

Holistic Approaches to Rural Community Revitalization
Revitalization and economic development are too often addressed in isolation, and without addressing the fundamental capacity challenges faced by rural leaders. Led by the Northern Forest Center, this session will focus on alternative approaches to community revitalization and will encourage participants to consider holistic approaches to reviatlize their communities.

Supporting the Creative Economy for Thriving Downtowns
The Vermont Creative Network is a broad collective of organizations, businesses, and individuals working to advance Vermont’s creative sector. Join this panel discussion to hear more about how supporting the creative economy promotes downtown development and revitalization.

Community Supported Enterprises
General Stores have long been central to the vitality of village life in Vermont. This session will share stories from villages that have taken the “community trust” approach to general store ownership, explain the models and funding they have used, and discuss both the challenges they have faced as well as the community pride these projects have fostered.

St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Walking Tour (25 slots)
Join the St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center for a walking tour of Main Street. Explore the amazing local architecture and history and see examples of recent investments in architecturally significant properties.

Reception, 5:00-7:00, St. Johnsbury Distillery

Thank you to our Major Conference Sponsors:

Accessibility Systems
Arnold & Scangas Architects
Black River Design, Architects
Community National Bank
Metro Development
National Park Service
Necrason Group
Passumpsic Bank
Salvador and Babic
Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission
Vermont Community Foundation
Vermont Creative Network
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
Vermont State Employees Credit Union
Vermont Agency of Transportation


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