Purpose Prize

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Ruth E. Skovron

The Northwestern Connecticut Regional Planning Collaborative
Purpose Prize Fellow 2011

Skovron helps small towns revitalize their economies to remain stable, strong and affordable.

When Ruth Skovron retired to rural Connecticut in 1995 after running a community newspaper in New Jersey, she floundered.

“Without the newspaper, and my children now far away, my moorings were gone,” she says. She threw herself into the local government of Falls Village, her 1,200-resident community, by joining committees.

She soon learned that wealthy weekend residents from New York were driving up property costs. As a result long-time villagers were struggling to keep up, and young adults and families were leaving in droves. The town needed a solution.

In 2006, Skovron persuaded Falls Village’s selectmen to help her set up a meeting for the region’s officials. It was packed.

Soon after, with eight towns onboard, Skovron co-founded the Northwestern Connecticut Regional Planning Collaborative, which provides cost-effective professional assistance to towns for a range of issues. In five years, public and private partners have invested $450,000 in the organization’s programs to identify opportunities for job development, educate the public about affordable housing, increase tourism and develop affordable housing units.

“I am energized by the challenges, thrilled by our successes and very comfortable with where I am as I near my 70th birthday,” Skovron says.