This article was submitted by Lylee Rauch-Kacenski.
I am a part of the Bethel Revitalization Initiative (BRI), a grassroots group in my town focused on placemaking, community cohesion, and engagement. Through my work with the BRI, I had the chance to meet the staff of the Community Planning and Revitalization department for the state of Vermont. Through that initial contact, I created an internship with the department, based on my interest in placemaking and economic development. With the generous support of the UEP scholarship funds, I was able to make the experience work financially.
I researched placemaking projects around the state, ranging from pocket parks and grants, to long-term planning projects. I gathered the stories from three communities, and crafted them into glossy, full colored case studies. It was a learning experience to have the opportunity to create published case studies from start to finish. I researched the projects, organized interviews, wrote drafts, edited drafts, gathered photographs, and did the design work to bring each case to life. The department now has these stories to share with towns who ask how they can improve their public spaces or community cohesion.
A personal highlight of the experience, was the opportunity to profile the event that brought me to the internship, Better Block, in Bethel. Working with the Community Planning and Revitalization department was a valuable opportunity to see the inner workings of planning in Vermont, and network with many people in the profession across the state. I now have a cohort of people who are on “team Lylee” and that has helped me network as I move into the phase of job searching. You can find the case studies that I created here: