Bethel Better Block Final Report
In 2016 Team Better Block partnered with AARP Vermont to spotlight how place-making and community design influence successful aging, health, economic vitality and overall livability. Bethel, VT was chosen as the recipient and a Better Block project took place over a weekend in early October to create pop-up businesses, street modifications, new public spaces and many other small interventions aimed at improving livability in the downtown corridor. The $15,000 initiative is an approach to revitalization that begins with temporarily transforming a single block into a vibrant destination that illustrates the potential for new business, safer streets and improved livability.
“We demonstrated how simple modifications can powerfully alter the economic, social, and ecological value of a community or neighborhood by gathering designers and community volunteers together to create a weekend intervention,” said Kelly Stoddard-Poor of AARP Vermont. Built with community talent and resources over a weekend, the result was a vision for an authentic place and the momentum needed to make it happen permanently. Residents and business owners were enthusiastic about the event and the possibilities it presented for future improvements and enhancements. The project would not have been successful without the leadership and energy of the Bethel Revitilization Initiative — a local, grassroots organization committed to the enrichment of the community.
The following report details how the scope of the project and recommendations: