A look into how Alliance for Vermont Communities came to exist.
Alliance for Vermont Communities was formed in 2016 in opposition to the NewVistas project, a proposed corporate-run settlement of 20,000 people centrally located within the four towns of Royalton, Tunbridge, Sharon and Strafford. NewVistas’ buildings were designed to be factory-built modular structures for large-scale production and simplicity. If completed, this project would have caused a population explosion in the four towns, and irrevocably changed their historic nature. The NewVistas project was eventually abandoned here in Vermont, but David Hall continues planned developments in Utah and elsewhere in the world. The NewVistas project was eventually abandoned here in Vermont, but David Hall continues planned developments in Utah and elsewhere in the world.
Vermont is unique – one of the few states where you can grow or hunt your own food, give back to the land as much as it gives you, recreate in the beautiful landscapes among the hills and valleys, and know your neighbors. The threat of losing some of the working landscape within the four town region to a large scale development galvanized a group of dedicated community members to take action. The resulting grassroots movement to protect our communities led to the formation of Alliance for Vermont Communities. At our formation in August of 2016, as a 501(c)3 non-profit, we decided to state what we were dedicated to work against, while working towards what we did want for our communities.
Since its formation the Alliance has actively partnered with local and state organizations to create a positive, thriving place that builds on its agrarian and forest related roots. Places to hike and learn about nature, to farm, to hunt, and to connect with the land. We actively helped in educating our neighbors, our local communities, and the state to the negative impact NewVistas would have had on the area.
NewVistas was founded by David Hall, a Utah resident who has invested over $100 million and more than 20 years of research into this project, which is based on Joseph Smith’s Plat of Zion (circa 1833). In less than two years he purchased over 1500 acres in Vermont.
July 20, 2016- Bloomberg Business Week: The story breaks nationally in this coverage by Bloomberg Business Week. https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-newhttps://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-newvistas-mormon-utopia/vistas-mormon-utopia/
Valley News-November 3, 2020
Sharon, Strafford will decide ownership of Ashley Community Forest next year
By ANNA MERRIMAN Valley News Staff Writer
Since 2016, the Alliance for Vermont Communities (AVC) has served our region by working to protect working farms, forests, and our rural heritage from unsustainable development. Through our grassroots efforts of facilitating community dialogue, working with town officials, hosting events, and forming key partnerships, we successfully stopped the largest threat to our communities, the NewVistas development. We will continue to keep a vigilant eye on the actions taken by NewVistas until David Hall has divested himself of his Vermont holdings.
Together we have had success in educating our local communities and the state to the proposed development. We worked to inform our neighbors and bring the potential threat to the state’s attention. As we work toward a brighter future for the area we must become a strong organization with excellent leadership and sustainable funding. We believe our presence is essential to protecting this area for present and future generations living here in central Vermont. We will engage with our community to help our organization better understand local and regional needs, and help us to be more effective in our work to develop a thriving local economy and community.
With AVC’s support, the surrounding communities have developed strong communication and organizing power towards creating a vibrant future for our region. We are at an important time to strategize our role in this effort. We would like to leverage the current momentum to advance sustainable development focused on the land-based economies of agriculture, forestry and recreation, with the participation and support of local community members and grassroots activism.
Our presence as a facilitator and advocate working to promote sustainable initiatives and place-based projects is meaningful in creating a vibrant and inclusive region now and in the future. Now is the time to leverage the energy and enthusiasm of community members.
Our four towns and Vermont have pressing needs. We need long-range jobs, economic opportunity for entrepreneurs, farmers, foresters and creative artists, and increased recreational choices for residents and visitors. These are the building blocks that The Alliance for Vermont Communities has set as our goals in the coming years.
Presently our work is focused on conservation and recreation projects in the four towns as a way to bring a high quality of life to our region. We believe economic vitality depends on a working landscape which includes traditional modes such as farming and forest related endeavors, but also includes recreation.
The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) led a four town community planning visit in Royalton, Sharon, Strafford and Tunbridge in 2019. The invitation for this initial conversation came from the Alliance. The VCRD is a specialist in community-focused development and we are delighted to have them here in our communities to catalyze the next phase of community-engaged efforts. We see this process significantly shaping the AVC’s work in the year ahead as we play a supportive role in our communities moving forward. We recognize the future success of Vermont’s rural communities may lie in our collective ability to find creative new approaches to deal with our common issues, and we are prepared to assist through on-the-ground coordination. We are excited for the opportunity to be a part of innovative new approaches to solving regional issues and to see new leaders emerge within our communities. Learn more about Community Visit here: https://www.vtrural.org/programs/Community-Visits.
Listen To The Story:
4 Vermont Towns Against One Utah Developer: What Happened With NewVistas (VPR’s Brave Little State) vpr.org)https://www.vpr.org/post/4-vermont-towns-vs-1-utah-developer-what-happened-newvistas
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