(Left) A new kiosk is admired by Devin Colman, Shannon Barsotti, and Caitlin Corkins. Devin and Caitlin work for the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation that funded the new kiosk. Shannon is the Development Director for the Town of Bennington. (Right) Shannon Barsotti stands next to one of the new directional signs that will help located recreational resources in the town.
New Signage For Outdoor Recreation in Bennington
Over two dozen new directional signs highlighting recreational opportunities as well as a new informational kiosk have been built and deployed by the Town of Bennington. The new signage was the result of three efforts that each contributed towards improving way finding in the community.
A $10,000 outdoor recreation grant from the Vermont Community Foundation was responsible for 20+ large and small directional signs that have been deployed to help locate recreational sites. Three of the signs are large and list numerous sites with directional arrows; one is located on Route 7 south entering into Bennington, another is heading east on Main Street just before Bradford Street, and the third is on Route 67A heading towards North Bennington shortly past the entrance to Bennington College. The rest are smaller signs that point towards or locate various recreational sites throughout the town.
A new kiosk featuring arts and culture, history, and recreation has also been created and installed. The large three-panel metal kiosk is located in the green next to the parking lot along Franklin Lane behind the Putnam Hotel. Featuring maps, images, and short write ups about the many topics presented on the panels, the kiosk gives locals and travelers a nice overview of what the town and region has to offer. The cost for the kiosk was covered by a $5,000 Certified Local Government Grant through the State Division for Historic Preservation.
New signs identifying Bennington as an “Appalachian Trail Community” have also been installed at the four entrances to town. The signs are about the size of a speed limit sign and recognize that in June of 2021, Bennington was designated an A.T. Community. The designation was the result of a volunteer-run community group that is committed to raising awareness of the A.T. in Southwestern Vermont. The Appalachian Trail Community™ program, administered by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, recognizes towns and cities that help promote and protect the A.T. The program helps grow outdoor recreation economies and stewardship opportunities to protect the Trail and adjacent lands. Two of the signs had been installed this past summer, but the final two were installed recently.
All together the new signage represents a significant improvement for the Town. Shannon Barsotti, Community Development Director for the Town of Bennington was the grant writer for the projects and one of the volunteers helping with the A.T. Community designation. “Many locals and outdoor groups know about these recreational opportunities, but a lot don’t know, especially tourists and new folks to town” notes Barsotti. “We have great places to hike, swim, bike, paddle, and enjoy nature. We want to get the word out and promote the whole region and healthy activities.”
Costs for all of the projects was kept down through the assistance of town crews from the Highway Department and Buildings and Facilities department who were able to do the installation of the signage.