Connecticut-Rhode Island Border
The Borderlands Village Innovation Pilot Project was established to help two towns on either side of the Connecticut-Rhode Island Border explore ways to redevelop village centers while protecting one of the largest undeveloped areas in the Boston-Washington metropolitan corridor. Leading a team that included ForeSee Consulting and the Consensus Building Institute, Dodson & Flinker Inc. helped each town explore the heart and soul of the community and develop a shared vision for the future. Rooted in an understanding of people and place, those visions are designed to foster appropriate growth and development while protecting the things people love about their town. The consulting team helped each town shape an extensive public engagement process, including innovative approaches to getting residents to say what they care about and explore alternatives for the future. These included web-based surveys, interactive keypad polling -- as well as old-fashioned interviews and one-on-one conversation. In Exeter, a “chip game” exercise allowed residents to imagine a future where the potential new homes and businesses allowed by zoning are redistributed in ways less likely to destroy the town’s rural character. In Killingly, participants met in small groups to explore options for a critical highway corridor, developing a vision where growth pressure is used to turn an old commercial strip into a revitalized, pedestrian-friendly village center.