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Forum asks how a Monadnock region can grow but maintain its identity

Union Leader Correspondent

February 11. 2014 6:13PM

PETERBOROUGH — A new series of community forums continues next week at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture.

“Community Conversations: Growing a Vibrant Economy While Keeping Our Region’s Identity” is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m.

The forum is the second in the series, which started last month with a conversation centered on keeping young people in the region.

Panelists include Bill James, CEO of RiverMead, and Keri Wiederspahn, executive director of Sharon Arts, and Jack Burnett, the executive director of the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.

These panelists will be able to speak about different sectors of the economy, said Gordon Peery, president of the center’s board of directors, from the retirement communities in the area and what they mean for the region, to the arts economy and businesses across the spectrum.

The panelist will start the conversation, but attendees are encouraged to contribute and bring up topics on the issue, Peery said.

“The idea is that the panelists or presenters would sound in on their area of expertise, but the conversation would take place between the audience members as well,” Peery said.

The community conversations are an extension of the center’s decision last year to expand from the Peterborough Historical Society to a history and cultural center for the region, Peery said.

The center is reaching to play a more pivotal role in the region, both in the business sector and cultural life of the community, Peery said.

Peery said he is hoping the conversation can spring forth ideas for different industries that can help create a vibrant economy in the region while at the same time operate harmoniously with the rural character of the area.

“It is really a more complex issue than do we have strip malls or not,” he said.

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