Greensboro Association Winter Letter – February 2013

After a quiet summer, we have had a lot on our plate this fall including working with the Selectboard to consider issues related to the Public Beach, gaining input in support of the Village Green initiative, developing a point of view about Circus Smirkus plans, making a variety of website updates, and launching a new proposal to enhance funding for the Greensboro community. This letter offers a short summary and links (if viewed as a PDF) to additional information.  If you are reading this on paper, just visit www.greensboroassociation.org where you will be able to find these links and articles.

I want to thank all of our board members and committee leaders for their efforts and, in particular, Tara Reynolds, who recently left the board. Tara led the transformation of our Grants and Gifts program, with a new structure that provides a more mission-aligned grant process. She has also been leading an ad hoc committee over the last six months to develop a proposed Fund for Greensboro.  Tara promises to return to the GA in a leadership post when she has a little more time on her hands!  Thanks also to Annie Paumgarten who served with great distinction  – publishing the “must read”,  “50 Ways to Preserve, Protect and Enhance Caspian Lake” as well as leading our member outreach efforts. Thanks again also to Tod and Gwen Mann and Stephanie Osterhout for their service on the board.

News, Activities and Progress

  • Public Beach:  With the change in the tax consideration by the State of Vermont, the Greensboro Selectboard has had their hands full working with the Hardwick Selectboard to try and find a solution that could satisfy Hardwick and hopefully align with the interests of both Greensboro and Hardwick residents. The history of the public beach written by Clay Simpson is a fascinating read and it helps highlight the long history and ownership of the beach and dam. A summary of the issues and my letter to the Greensboro Selectboard is on our website.
  • Website & Calendar: The GA is also supporting a new initiative led by Joe and Susan Wood that promises to deliver a web-based community calendar across various groups (library, GA, GAAR etc..) in the wider area – all under the single web domain “xxx.vtcalendar.org”. More to come on this and don’t worry, the “Green Sheet” will continue! We have addressed website security issues by cleaning out plugins and patching holes and are now more stable.  Attackers on the web are constant, so we need to be diligent. Thank you, Betsy Hunt and Linda Ely for providing blog posts and updates during the year,  keeping us all informed.
  • Caspian Challenge & 4th of July: You recall that last year, we re-scoped the “Fireworks Committee” to become the “Events Committee” and Victoria Von Hessert agreed to chair the committee. She put together, with great success, the first annual Caspian Challenge with help from the Porrazzo family and others. Thanks to all!  By the way, the Funky 4th celebration this year is targeted for the 6th and I’ll get the old tractor out earlier this time – join us for the GA float!
  • A Fund For Greensboro: We are excited to announce a proposal to launch a Fund for Greensboro that can help the community address a broader range of long term needs. The Fund for Greensboro would be a donor advised fund managed by the Vermont Community Foundation and offering a platform for major gifts and planned giving to benefit Greensboro and Caspian Lake.  The board for the fund would be separate, but aligned with the Greensboro Association and made up of leaders within the community. We plan to launch the fund this summer and are proposing to partially match donations with an initial $10,000 allocation from a combination of existing lake reserve and general funds.

As has been considered in the past, we are also proposing to adjust the Greensboro Association status to become a 501(c)3. This status would make annual donations more effective and help continue the annual small grants program while still allowing us to maintain our role as an advocacy organization. Our grants program provides funding annually for specific needs and it is not an annual funding source of for local non-profits.

Special thanks to Tara Reynolds and Clay Simpson for their efforts in developing this proposal as well Mary White who pushed us to explore the idea. We had expert input from Linda Ely, Trish Alley, Marcia and John Stone, Rick Lovett, Andy Dales, Clive Gray and other GA members. Contact Clay Simpson, Linda Ely or me with comments.

  • Town Plan Input: Last summer, we were asked to comment on the Town Plan and Larry Hewes developed detailed feedback ranging from minor wording suggestions to more important considerations. The Town Plan Committee adopted virtually all of these recommendations.
  • Village Green Initiative:  A central part of our mission is to support Village Improvement initiatives and in response to some concerns the Selectboard faced related to the Village Green (near Willey’s) the GA volunteered to help fund an improvement / beautification plan. Upgraded landscaping and making the Green more visitor-friendly are part of the vision. Please feel free to complete a survey (soon please!) or share your ideas with Naomi Ranz, Chris King, Niall Kirkwood or on Facebook and the Website.
  • Help with History: We are starting to compile a record of our GA history and many past contributors on our website. Please help us with this effort. We will access the records at the Historical Society as well. Visit the Mission History and Impact page and add your comments or let me know if you have history to share.
  • Many Thanks:  Andy Dales continues to lead across almost every aspect of the Association’s activities in addition to protecting our lake.  Niall Kirkwood is putting together the spring newsletter – so stay tuned for that. Anne Cassidy, is publishing our directory again this year!  Linda Ely continues to lead communications and impact every aspect of the Association.

Some Priorities for 2013

  • Lake protection and preservation continues to be our overarching priority. The lake is vital to the health and vitality of our community. We still need to find people to join Andy on lake initiatives so that we can work on the various issues – including Geese populations – more effectively. Also, by working with organizations like Sterling College and others, we can better understand and address lake environment impacts.
  • With recent events like the Public Beach ownership question, there is a heightened awareness about how fragile our lake and village is to potentially substantial and unforeseen changes. For several years, we have been working toward a goal of increasing a lake reserve fund.  Now, by establishing The Fund for Greensboro with support from our members, we will have the opportunity firm up our long-term stability.
  • As our community changes, we must be more relevant and responsive to a wider range of member interests and we will continue to make adjustments to our committee focus to help us maintain both our traditional activities and encourage new activities that support a vibrant active community as a place to live, work and visit.

Our annual meeting is scheduled on Friday August 9 at 7:30PM and we hope you can come!

Thank you for your support and the opportunity to serve Greensboro in this role. Feel free to email me with any comments or suggestions at jcstone@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

John C. Stone III
Association President