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Pownal Community

Pownal Community, VT

The Town of Pownal, located in Bennington County, is a rural community dedicated to creating a culture of unity and shared purpose, fostering civic engagement, and delivering cost-effective and practical solutions to the governance of the town and its citizens. Despite its rich history, the town has experienced a decline in population over the last few decades and has seen unique income disparity among its residents. The median household income is above the state average, but nearly all (96.33%) students at the town’s elementary school are approved for free-and-reduced-price school meals. A newly constructed Town Office is nearing completion
in the Pownal Center village, which is considered both the physical and historical heart of the Pownal community. The Town Office is located on more than an acre of land which also houses the town-owned Center Street Park and the currently vacant former Old Town Office building. This Pownal Center Village has the capacity to become a designated town green that could offer a hub of diverse community activity with open space to recreate, host meetings and educational workshops, and even encourage entrepreneurship.

Project Goals Statement: 

During the technical assistance pilot project, Pownal sought to create an age-friendly town green in the Pownal Center Village where residents and visitors can gather, conduct business, and recreate. They also sought to revitalize of Old Town Hall building where community-interested and -led services could be housed year-round.

Partner Organization:
Town of Pownal
Pownal Parks & Rec Committee

Health Assessment Outcome:

The Pownal Community Health Equity Assessement collected input from community members on their top contributors to health, health issues, and health behaviors. The survey also assessed community member recommendations for the use of the Old Town Hall building (see below). Nearly 70% of residents did not use the existing skatepark within the past 12 months. Of those who had not used the skatepark, factors for not accessing the amenity included: non-skater, age, mobility issues, and lack of free time.

Top 5 Most Important Factors for a Healthy Community

  • Clean environment
  • Good jobs and a healthy economy
  • Low crime/safe neighborhoods
  • Good schools
  • Affordable and safe housing

 

Top 5 Most Important Health Problems in the Community

  • Substance abuse/Drug abuse
  • Poor eating habits
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Being overweight
  • Tobacco Use

 

Top 5 Uses for Old Town Hall Building

  • Events
  • Educational workshops/lectures
  • Physical activity and recreation
  • Markets (farmers, meat, art)
  • Social clubs and meeting spaces

Technical Assistance:

  • Organizational and Community Assessments
  • Town Green Renderings
  • Outreach and Engagement Resources
  • Marketing and Communications Resources
  • Fundraising and Grant Support and Resources
  • Long-Term Project Sustainability Resources

Technical Assistance Outcome:

The action items for the technical assistance pilot were to utilize the results and recommendations from the Community Health Equity Assessment and technical assistance sessions to develop renderings for the new town green. Based on the responses from residents and recommendations from subject matter experts on design and mobility, renderings resulted in a community space design that incorporated elements and amenities that made the space accessible, walkable, bikeable, family-oriented, and business-community friendly. Data collected and resources provided were also used to support Pownal’s Municipal Planning Grant Program award. Together, these efforts will be used to create this Pownal village-designated area into a “Town Green” or “Town Common” where residents and visitors can gather, conduct business, and recreate.

Pownal, VT

Demographics

Census Population

  • 2021: 568
  • 2020: 548

(Resource: 2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates)

Age Profile

  • 0-14: 38.3%
  • 15-64: 58%
  • 65+: 3.7%
  • 20.8 – Median Age

(Resource: 2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates)

Population by Sex:

  • Male: 242, 42.6%
  • Female: 326, 57.4%

(Resource: 2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates)

  • 1-Year Mobility (Residents that have moved within the previous year): 0%
  • 5-Year Mobility (Residents that have moved within the previous 5 years): Not available

(Resource: 2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates)