Imagining the Future + Ben & Jerry’s = ECOS Project Ice Cream Social

Four ice cream socials give neighboring towns opportunity to envision the future of Chittenden County
The ECOS (Environment – Community – Opportunity – Sustainability) Project is hosting four ice cream socials this month throughout Chittenden County. Their purpose is to engage community members in improving the area in the coming 20 years. Shelburne’s Town Office will be the site of one of the socials on Wednesday evening, May 30 at 6:30 pm.
Based on past trends, Chittenden County is expected to grow by about 50,000 people in the next 20 years, to about 200,000; a third more people than today. This can result in more traffic, waste, and buildings. It can also mean more opportunities for culture, commerce, diversity, and jobs.
ECOS has organized these socials along with inspiration from Burlington City Arts who came up with the idea. “Ice cream socials are an old fashioned way of bringing the community together,” explains Doreen Kraft, Executive Director of BCA. “We thought this could be a great impetus to get people out and socializing, and then we can engage them in this creative, visioning activity together as a group.”
The evening will offer an opportunity to gather feedback from attendees on their input for the area’s future. Participants’ ideas will be illustrated in real-time, creating a collective mural representing their vision and priorities for the future, which will become part of the ECOS Project’s strategic plan.
The ECOS Project is a collaborative effort of 19 municipalities and 40 organizations to develop broad agreement on a regional plan for sustainable development including implementation actions. The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation received a multi-year federal grant to support developing the plan and also to fund some projects to implement the plan. The plan will also serve as the regional plan, transportation plan and economic development strategy for the region.
Burlington City Arts is a partner in the project and came up with the idea for the events. “Ice cream socials are an old fashioned way of bringing the community together,” explains Doreen Kraft, Executive Director of BCA. “We thought this could be a great impetus to get people out and socializing, and then we can engage them in this creative, visioning activity together as a group. “Charlie Baker, Executive Director of the CCRPC adds that “We spread out these sessions around the county, so we’re hoping that folks from neighboring towns will find a day and location that is convenient for them to attend.”
For more information on the ECOS Project, including the opportunity to provide comments directly please visit www.ecosproject.com.

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