RUTLAND-Two of Rutland's most exciting, community driven
projects reached their first milestones on Saturday, Nov. 3. First,
the Rutland Creek Path had a ribbon cutting ceremony and the first
segment is now open to the public. Second, the Vermont Food and
Farmer Center had its first indoor farmer's market of the season
and it was a rousing success.
The Creek Path started as an idea at the Creative Economy public
forum eight years ago. Generous donations from local individuals
and businesses, federal assistance and countless hours of volunteer
labor have made the project a reality. The first segment of the
path starts at the Giorgetti complex and Pine Hill Park, 2 Oak
Street Extension. The path utilizes new signs and crosswalks on
existing roads and a new 10-foot-wide paved path to end on State
Street. When the path is completed, it will continue south to reach
St. Joseph's college.
The Rutland Regional Planning Commission and the Rutland
Creative Economy continue to search for more private donation and
public funding to complete the project.
The Vermont Farmers Food Center is another volunteer-driven
project that highlights the positive direction Rutland is taking.
Greg Cox of Boardman Hill Farm in West Rutland and Bill Clark of
Clark farm in Wells, have shared a vision for the better part of a
decade. They saw a need for a community center that houses a weekly
farmer's market, commercial kitchen, educational space and a home
for local food charities. Vermont Farmer's Market has helped make
the center a reality. When the old Mintzer Lumber complex on West
Street became available, Cox, Clark and their fellow organizers,
knew they had found the right spot.
Since the middle of this summer, a phenomenal amount of work was
accomplished. Buildings were cleared of tons of debris, broken
windows were replaced, graffiti was painted over and the overgrown
lot was landscaped and repurposed. When the center opened its doors
to the public on Saturday, Nov. 3 the complete transformation was
apparent. Large windows let natural light flood in, and there was
live music playing over the din of the busy market.
According to organizers, over 2,000 people came to check out the
first market and its 60 or so vendors. Arts and crafts, jewelry,
hot food, and of course, local agricultural products were in
Dennis Duhaime of Radical Roots Farm said "we almost ran out of
lettuce at 11:30. I had to run down to the farm and pick some
more." David O'Rourke is the project manager and he said "every
vendor I talked with expressed excitement over their sales figures,
and they all noticed many new faces. As one gentleman said 'Every
new face is a potential customer,'" he said, adding "Talking
with a number of the volunteers today, they all had a sense of
pride and a sense of accomplishment. What a great beginning!"
Greg Cox shared the sentiment, saying "We had an amazing turnout
today; cars were lined up all the way down West Street this
morning. It's a very positive step".
Finishing the space for the Vermont Foodbank is one of many
projects the group will continuing working on as the center