Claire Kerrigan

In the fall of 1988, 156 volunteers in TBL got together to plan and make recommendations regarding the future of this town. This was Imaginaction, an interesting community exercise whereby the enthusiastic participants were divided into nine study groups and each group met in a Knowlton Academy classroom every Wednesday evening for 14 weeks. Inspired by an innovative planning exercise in Freeport, Vermont, Bernie Kahane and Peter Kerrigan, both TBL residents, interested the town in developing a similar exercise. Marc Clerk and Lois Hardacker were co-chairmen of the Coordinating Committee, and Lisa Merowitz was Admin. Coordinator.
The nine study groups were:

1. Agriculture/Forest/Open Space
2. CommunityAppearance/HistoricSites
3. Community Social Services
4. Cultural/Recreation
5 . Economic Development
6. Environment
7. Housing
8. Knowlton/CentreVille
9. Town Services

Some of the many recommendations of this exercise have been implemented, others not. Of those implemented perhaps the founding of the Community Centre is one of the most visible, and the about-to-be-built Trestle Cove bridge reflects another.

To quote from the Tempo editorial of March, 1989: “As well as many recommendations, the Imaginaction process has produced a number of other positive outcomes, some of which are:

• Interested citizens have been given the sense of really participating in town affairs, and this contributes to a healthy feeling of being part of the community.

• The hidden talents of many people have surfaced, and these can now be harnessed for further community benefit and personal gratification.

• New friendships were made.

• It was frequently remarked that Imaginaction helped to heal divisions among different segments of the community.

• Above all, most participants found that the process was “a wonderful learning process, and an informed citizen in a democracy is surely a better citizen.”

The full Imaginaction report, with details on all recommendations, is now available on line at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mj1sqyfjbs5x85c/AAAnt_zK82Gm8npiiVcJ0ipya?dl=0