Brattleboro is undergoing a major shift, with many long-running and well-known entities exiting stage left, and some new projects are bubbling up. Here are just a few examples:
– Sam’s closing.
– MT Bank closing.
– Josh Davis leaving Groundworks.
– Cor Trowbridge leaving BCTV.
– Lee Bradford leaving Co-op.
– Rescue Inc tossed by the selectboard.
– BFD will run ambulances.
– WVEW moves to Harmony Place.
– Renaissance Jewelry closed.
– Whetstone Brewery, etc. for sale.
– Hatch Space building at High Green has new energy.
– New train station coming.
– Flower program won’t have Dick Degray.
and I’m sure you could think of other items. It’s not unusual to have changes like these, but it is a bit unusual to have so many big shifts in such a short period of time.
It isn’t entirely clear which direction things are heading, either. Big empty spaces downtown are worrisome. Losing good leadership can be stressful. But changes can also be healthy and bring new ideas and perspectives. Whatever the outcome, Brattleboro has some questions to consider on the topic of downtown:
– How should downtown, especially the lower half of Main Street, reinvent itself?
– What does downtown most need?
– Who do we want downtown to attract and serve?
– When is downtown for people who live here and when is it for tourists?
– Should Gallery Walk be renamed, since there are so few galleries? : )