The Thoughtful Growth in Action (TGIA) project is nearing its completion. The TGIA Working Group is recommending that the Town of Essex and Village of Essex Junction use a Joint Planning Commission, with separate Development Review Boards for the Town and the Village. Currently, the Town and Village have separate Planning Commissions and Zoning Boards of Adjustment. TGIA also recommended ways the Town and Village can improve communications around planning and development issues. A final report is expected in early March, and the Essex Selectboard and Village Trustees are scheduled to have a joint meeting with the TGIA consultants on March 14.
TGIA came about as a way to explore new approaches to planning governance in the Town and Village. The project stemmed from the belief, highlighted by Heart & Soul of Essex, that the community wants a shared vision that honors and builds on the unique characteristics of the Village and the Town outside the Village.
A 24-member working group began meeting in September 2015. The Working Group, comprised of Essex residents, planning and zoning staff, and developers, studied existing planning structures and new alternatives before making its recommendation. More information about the project is online at www.essextgia.com
EDUCATION: Stream of Lights Lantern Parade
On February 12, students from 10 schools, along with community members and artists are putting on a paper lantern parade through Essex Junction. As a celebration of the school district unification, these students worked together with artist Gowri Savoor to create the lanterns. This is an opportunity to see the school districts unified physically as a whole, and will hopefully encourage future collaborations between the school and the students. Go to Essex High School on February 12 at 5:30pm to see this wonderful celebration of community, creativity, and light. More info: http://www.ccsuvt.org/across-the-universe-stream-of-lights
LOCAL ECONOMY: 1st Republic Brewing Company
A new business is moving into the Essex area. 1st Republic Brewing Company is hoping to open it's storefront at 39 River Road at some point in the next month. Kevin Jarvis and Shawn Trout started this business in a garage, and are now hoping to grow while staying true to their hometown Vermont roots. Stay up to date with the store opening on their website: 1strepublicbrewingco.com
COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS: The Living Room - Center of Positivity
The Living Room and Excelerate Essex have become housemates! This partnership blends philosophies of collaborative space and community engagement in order to create a well rounded space to work, recover and create. Co working and collaborative environments give the community an opportunity to develop all kinds of great relationships! Come visit the space and meet some of the people that are working there. 15 Pearl St. (next to the Fire Station in Five Corners.
SAFETY: Service Above Self Dinner
The Essex Rotary Club will be hosting it’s annual “service above self” dinner on February 17th at the Essex. Zachariah Fike will be honored for his efforts to return stolen medals of valor to their owners through his organization, Purple Hearts Reunited. The rotary also honors Stephen Dunning from Essex Rescue for his heroic efforts saving the life of someone trapped inside their home in a fire. Raymond Weed from the EJ Fire Department will be recognized for his dedicated 40 years of service. Michelle Hodgson is honored from Essex PD for her ability to step in as a new staff member, and quickly fill an important role in the department. Cpt. George Henry will be honored from the Essex Fire Department for his work with the Fire Department, EMS, and hurricane relief in Haiti.
HEALTH & RECREATION: 15th Annual Winter Carnival
On Saturday, February 27, Essex Junction Recreation and Parks is teaming up with Essex Parks and Rec to host the 15thannual Winter Carnival. This is a great event to see friends and neighbors, eat some great food, watch musical performances, and enjoy activities both indoors and out.