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Letter: A Shining Regional Facilitator

To the Editor:

Your recent article on regional cooperation (“Towns Mull More Teamwork,” Sept. 14) highlighted an important development as Northern New England communities try to tackle modern challenges in an effective and efficient manner. As noted by your reporter, these challenges (e.g., public safety, emergency services, disaster relief, hazardous waste disposal, etc.) no longer respect geographic or political borders. Further, efforts to find cost-effective solutions in the face of increasing technological and regulatory needs suggest the benefits of partnerships that cross town and even state boundaries.

Four years ago, under the leadership of Len Cadwallader, our former executive director, and with the support of New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Vital Communities first convened the four municipalities highlighted in your article — Hanover, Norwich, Hartford and Lebanon. Since then, we have continued to host these meetings on a bi-monthly basis, and in the last year, we’ve started convening Windsor, Woodstock, Plainfield and Enfield as well, with the regional planning commissions. As Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin wrote in an email to your reporter, “This is one of the top priorities for Vital Communities ... they shine at encouraging collaboration across town and state lines.”

Vital Communities’ work is at the heart of a vibrant Upper Valley region. We bring citizens, organizations and municipalities together to take on issues where an independent voice and regional approach are essential. Our programs focus on local food, local economy, civic engagement, transportation, energy and sense of place. Working together, we make our region a better place to live, work and play every day.

Mary Margaret Sloan

Executive Director, Vital Communities

White River Junction

Related

Towns Mull More Teamwork

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hartford — Interest appears to be growing among municipal leaders in core Upper Valley towns on ways to share services regionally, a development that could affect everything from how residents dispose of hazardous materials and compost to where they call for an ambulance. Officials from Hanover, Lebanon, Hartford and Norwich have been meeting informally for the past four years, and …