Editorial Points: Woodstock’s East End – Real Hope and Progress

July 7, 2011

in Business Matters,News,Woodstock

After decades of stagnation and failed attempts to turn an eyesore into something attractive and productive, it now appears there will be a successful ending to the saga of Woodstock’s East End “Jungle” area.
A 30-year community resident, Alfonse “Al” Sorrentino, has taken a leap of faith and signed a contract to purchase a key portion of the property near the village snow dump from former resident Bill Alsup. If current negotiations on the property are successful, Mr. Sorrentino intends initially to simply clean up the unattractive area so that residents and visitors to the village can enjoy pleasant views over the meandering Ottaquechee River to the Billings Farm and Museum, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park and the hills of Pomfret.
Sorrentino’s long-term plans are to construct a combination of residential and non-competing commercial businesses on the property, resulting in considerable new tax revenues for the community, job creation and additional reasons for people to visit the community and patronize local events and businesses.
If the Sorrentino project is to succeed it is absolutely essential that the current snow dump be relocated. Recent news about the prospects of this happening is encouraging. Relocating it and replacing it with a park along the Ottaquechee River has long been a prime objective of Sustainable Woodstock’s East End Action Group and their keen interest is in helping to advance the relocation process.
Also important is the ever-increasing involvement and commitment by Village officials, plus the owners of the property nearby the snow dump could move. Such interest has helped create a momentum that will enable meaningful change to take place in the “Jungle” section of the East End. Both present and future generations of residents and visitors will be the beneficiaries of this hard work and willingness to succeed.

History in Bloom – Another Winner!
We had a similar feeling from last month’s History In Bloom event held at the Woodstock History Center as we did when special events such as Woodstock Wassail, Covered Bridges Half Marathon, Summer at Six, Bookstock and others first began. They were going to be real winners!
You could just tell that in future years the event would attract large numbers of visitors to the community and boost the town’s leisure time-based economy, as well as provide entertainment for local residents.
History in Bloom has great potential. It’s a natural to attract considerable print and electronic media coverage. As it becomes better known, people from afar as well as locals will attend. It appeals to a special market segment, which is a good match with what the Woodstock area naturally offers.
Quechee, Plymouth, Killington and Woodstock special events often make it onto the list of “Vermont’s Top Ten Events.” With a bit of creativity, strong leadership and a lot of hard work by dedicated volunteers, just about any town in this area could do the same thing.
We hope the Trustees of the Woodstock History Center will decide early on to repeat their commendable first performance and thus launch another unique annual event in this area.
Phil Camp


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