ENOSBURGH — It’s been some time since the Messenger caught up with the Enosburgh Initiative, but that doesn’t mean this band of volunteers is slowing down.
A relatively small group of Initiative stalwarts gathered in the backroom of the Enosburgh Public Library Thursday after the SE Group presented a redesigned recreation field, as the Messenger reported in Saturday’s edition.
The subsequent Initiative meeting involved less than a dozen people, gathered around a small table beside an old popcorn machine.
But their conversation had the Initiative’s characteristic diversity. Topics ranged from restoring the Lincoln Park doughboy to developing a property maintenance ordinance in the village to a sudden rush of new business and advertising opportunities.
Jim Cameron, the Initiative’s de facto moderator, pointed out that the village’s Depot Street is flourishing.
The Animal Doctor moves from Water Tower Road to open its new Depot Street offices on Dec. 1. Volunteers praised the building’s rejuvenated look — not far from a new flower shop opening soon, not to mention, diagonally across the intersection of Depot and Main streets, 242 Texas BBQ.
The Messenger profiled the barbecue biz, which moved from a small roadside stand in Montgomery to Main Street, in last weekend’s edition. Volunteers noted at this Initiative meeting the restaurant opened to such a crowd its first customers found themselves in standing room only.
When it comes to advertising Enosburgh, Cameron highlighted Adelle Brunstad, who sat across the table from him, as a sort of local secret weapon.
He told the group Brunstad’s recently published an article about Enosburgh in Vermont Business Magazine, giving the moving-and-shaking community statewide publicity.
And Cameron said he and Brunstad plan to meet with the magazine’s editor to plan additional articles about the community, including a spring ad in the paper to draw tourists.
Brunstad’s found herself in a position Cameron called the Initiative’s first administrative assistant.
“Great,” Ward Heneveld quipped. “She has a job with a non-existent organization.”
That got a lot of laughs, including from Cameron and Brunstad.
Existent organizations are helping Initiative volunteers replace the fencing around the “doughboy” soldier statue in Lincoln Park, namely the American Legion, the Village of Enosburg Falls and the Enosburg Business Association. Cameron said the new fencing will match that of the cemetery across the street, creating design uniformity and just generally looking better than the current fence.
Cameron said those groups are also working to get the statue appraised for repairs.
He stopped the updates for a moment to praise Gary Denton, the village’s public works director. Cameron said Denton’s been really encouraging throughout the fence replacement effort.
Along the same lines, Shawna Lovelette observed she “feel[s] like the trustees are really rocking it lately.”
Lovelette and several others in the room elaborated on the thought. They said the village board of trustees has seemed uniquely supportive whenever Initiative volunteers have raised issues or sought support at the board’s recent meetings.
That includes meetings on a proposed property maintenance ordinance, which the Messenger will cover in a future edition. Matt Mulheron, St. Albans City’s public health and safety officer, described the city’s property maintenance ordinances to the village board on Nov. 12, after the board discussed developing a similar ordinance in the village to keep properties maintained — i.e. no couches on porches, no overgrown lawns.
Cameron brought the village’s lack of any such ordinance to the trustees’ attention in October, and asked if he could invite Mulheron to explain what St. Albans City has done with similar issues. The board supported that idea and heard Mulheron out at its last meeting.
Which wasn’t just potentially good for the village, but also for Cameron’s stress levels.
“I got a bug up my buns about ordinances,” he told the Initiative at Thursday’s meeting.
But there seemed to be too much good news for anyone to stay bugged.
One whopping piece of good news is the possibility that the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the statewide profit dedicated to protecting communities’ architecture, may well hold its next quarterly meeting in Enosburg Falls.
That’s a big deal because these sizable meetings attract an equally sizable population of municipal and state officials and influential community members from across Vermont.
Cameron said Enosburgh’s community development got a hearty round of applause when he described it to attendees at the Preservation Trust’s most recent quarterly meeting. He said attendees seemed thrilled by all the activity here in the town and village.
“And a year from now,” Lovelette said, when the Preservation Trust meets again, “imagine where we’ll be.”