KINGFIELD — Taxpayers will be asked for their opinions and ideas for the future growth of the town.

At their Monday night meeting, selectmen reviewed a survey that will be included with the tax bills to be mailed this month.

The selectmen-appointed Village Enhancement Committee originally presented a plan to taxpayers at the 2011 town meeting. The plan included a park, access to public spaces, including a village green and historic walking loop.

Since then, the group has seen a steady turnover of membership. This August survey could get the selectmen, committee and townspeople thinking and discussing mutual priorities for the town’s future. Not everyone wants growth, selectman Walter Kilbreth said.

“I hear a lot of talk about economic development,” he said.

He suggested some of the economic development proposals would primarily benefit downtown businesses. He questioned whether a tourism-based economy could benefit the whole community. Businesses are pressured to give money to all the local causes, according to selectwoman Morgan Dunham, who owns the Orange Cat Cafe on Main Street.

“If anyone wants to do any fundraising, the first thing they say is, “Let’s go to local businesses.”,” she said. “I don’t mind, but that’s the way it is.”

She suggested that with so many people coming through the town, why not have them having ways to spend their dollars in Kingfield.

Kilbreth said he remembered when North Conway, NH, was a nice quiet ski town.

“Look at it now,” he said.

Parking is scarce already, he noted, so if more visitors come to the area, the problem will be accelerated, he said. Selectman John Dill noted that to keep the school open, the town has to have more children.

“We need to attract some younger people to town,” he said.

The town attracts retirees, but many of the younger residents don’t have children or have smaller families. Affordable housing is scarce, and the many people commute to jobs in other towns, often beyond Franklin County.

“We need to have some more energy in this town,” selectman John Dill said. “It’s always the same people doing the same things, and people.”

Questions on the survey include whether townspeople are interested in improving the public infrastructure, investing in renewable energy, promoting tourism, attracting new businesses and offering quality of life enhancements, among other choices of priorities.

Selectmen will place boxes in several public locations to collect the responses. They also can be left at the Town Office.


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