In 2011, a large and enthusiastic group of Shelburne residents spent several days discussing possible solutions for the shortcomings of the Route 7 North corridor, both as the “front door” to our town, and as an economic engine. Conversations were lively and productive, led by an experienced team from the American Institute of Architects, and everyone came away from the process confident that they had found creative and broadly beneficial steps that would energize and transform this key artery.
But nothing happened. The report that came out of that community conversation became another block of paper on a shelf. But that has taught us a lesson: the product of community conversations and well-made plans will only become reality if the community continues to be engaged to shepherd the process toward reality.
Next weekend we have a chance to put that lesson into practice. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday Feb. 1, 2, and 3, everyone is invited to come to the Town Hall to seek information, share opinions, discuss possibilities, options and opportunities, and add their voices to a plan that will make Route 7 North into the attractive, cohesive, accessible, safe, welcoming gateway to Shelburne with a happy blend of residential neighborhoods and successful businesses. But if we remember the lesson from 2011, everyone who attends will not only be satisfied with the process that welcomed their participation, but will be committed to continuing to be engaged, monitoring the progress toward the new Route 7 North we helped to build.
Rosalyn Graham, Shelburne