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Q and A: Forum hopes to connect neighbors

Journal Opinion of Bradford, Vermont

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NEWBURY—This upcoming weekend marks the date for the Re New bury event, held in Newbury on both Friday and Saturday Organizers hope the event will encourage community members to participate in the free event to help shape the community for years to come. We sat down with Emmy Hausman of New bury, who has been involved in planning the event for several years.

Journal Opinion: What is Re New bury?

Emmy Hausman: It is a community-wide forum for all residents of Newbury to celebrate Newbury's rich history and to envision ways that we can enhance the community that we know and love over the next 10 to 20 years.

JO: Who should go?

EH: Everyone. Everyone who lives in Newbury, old and young, homesteaders, renters, people who've been here only for a short while, people who been here for their whole lives. And we also would welcome business people; people who have businesses within the town.

JO: Why go to this event?

EH: Well I think it is a forum for us all to consider how we can support one another more fully, make life richer for everyone, and again everybody comes with their own perspective, own needs, own strengths and it to try to figure out together how we can use all those to best advantage and make life better for everyone. We also, I have to say, hope that from this we make a more resilient community with perhaps a new group of people ready to assume leadership roles in the community.

JO: Why will the event be taking place over two days and in two different locations?

EH: The two different locations is to be inclusive of our town. Because our town has two separate school systems [Newbury/Oxbow and Blue Mountain], we wanted to honor both of those schools... because they all live within the town of Newbury. And why is it over two days? Well, we didn't feel as though we could celebrate our town and also go through the process that allows us to examine ways that we could enhance our town in a single day. It was just too much for a single's day agenda, plus it gives us all a chance to take home what we did on Friday night and reflect on it and come back on Saturday; maybe with fresh perspectives, maybe with refined Ideas about how we want to proceed.

JO: Do people need to attend both days?

EH: Well, we'd love them to attend both. I think the process would work best if we had people there for the continuity that the two days will lend. The task at hand sort of builds as it comes to a conclusion on Saturday afternoon, so we would hope that people could commit to go both days, but we will take what we can get.

JO: What happens after this weekend? What are the next steps?

EH: We hope to identify a half dozen or so projects that people who choose to can work on to develop. Those projects will be identified by everyone during Re New bury. We hope then to send groups of willing participants off to work on those in upcoming months.

JO: What is the event's history this the first year that this event will be taking place?

EH: This forum, ReNewbury, is based on a model that was held 15 years ago for the four towns of Newbury, Bradford, Piermont, and Haverhill. And out of that forum 15 years ago I can identify several developments, several projects that emerged out of that. One was the chamber of commerce, a very active chamber...that started as a result of that forum. And an arts council in Haverhill began as a result of that forum.

This grew out of a group that met over the last two or so years called ' Sustainable Newbury'. That group wrote a grant, from the Well born foundation, to hold a community-wide forum, like this...at the time it was looking at issues of sustainability. If you consider sustainability in its broadest sense, I would have to say that this forum is keeping with that goal.

JO: What topics are expected to be discussed at the event this ' weekend?

EH: We are examining 10 aspects of our town. There are 10 different aspects of successful communities. One is leadership, one is informed citizen participation. Another is social services and healthcare, education is another one...transportation, how to support our local economy, environment and natural resources, arts and cultural heritage.

JO: Who is Delia Clark, the facilitator for the event?

EH: She is the person who is bringing the model that this forum will use to ReNewbury. She is a trained and very highly experienced facilitator from Taftsville, Vermont. The New Hampshire charitable foundation suggested that she was somebody that might have the skills and training we were looking for and she has been working with us for a year a half, at least."

JO: How did you settle on the name ReNewbury?

EH: I think that the suggestion actually came from an 'outsider', if you will somebody from Bradford. It's Nancy Jones, of the conservation commission in Bradford, who was talking to my husband Rick, and said your town has the perfect name for a forum like this: Renewbury."

JO: What are your goals and hopes for this event?

EH: Our goals and hopes are for Newbury residents to come together with their neighbors to enjoy good food, and I should say 'good, free food,' good fun, and to plan for projects to enhance our community, to strengthen it over the next 10 to 20 years.

ReNewbury will begin on March 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Blue Mountain Union School. Volunteers will serve dinner, a song specially written for the occasion will follow, and then Frank Bryan will entertain with humorous stories of growing up in Newbury. Clark will guide participants in a discussion about successful communities; participants will then break into smaller groups to generate ideas for improving the town.

ReNewbury will continue on March 28, at Newbury Elementary School with a breakfast at 8:45 a.m at 9:15 a.m., there will be a mix of entertainment and small groups to focus on specific issues, projects, and goals. Lunch will be served at 12:15 p.m., followed by time to plan for the long-term projects the group has decided to pursue. The forum ends at 3:30 p.m.

Danielle Drown may be contacted at ddrown@jonews.com.



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Original Publication Date: March 25, 2015



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