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The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development recently announced $464,000 in Municipal Planning Grant awards to 38 communities across Vermont. This year’s grants range from $3,159 to $20,000. Total requests exceeded $780,000. Competitively awarded, 69 applications were reviewed and 38 projects were selected. Winning projects ranged from updating local regulations to better serving the farm and forest economy in Berkshire to improving parking conditions in downtown Brattleboro.
Cabot, Manchester, and Winooski recognized that the design of their downtown or village buildings, streets, and sidewalks and how they relate to the surrounding neighborhoods directly affects vitality of the community and the local economy. For this reason, they secured grant funds to help them develop projects and strategies to replicate the revitalization successes in seen in other Vermont cities and towns. Similarly, through a public/private partnership, West Rutland will use its grant to redesign an underused 1970s mall, making it more useful, attractive and better connected to the village.
Milton’s grant will help align improvements in future buildings and infrastructure to ensure new development brings in the kind of growth and opportunity desired by its residents. St. Albans City will make a long-term plan to get the most out of Taylor Park that attracts thousands of visitors to downtown with activities ranging from the local famers’ market to the Maple Festival. Bennington’s grant aims to make downtown more accessible for everyone whether they travel by bus, bike, foot or by car.
This year, applications for available funding in the Northeast Kingdom were over-subscribed for the first time in years. Grants in that region will support projects ranging from a first-time town plan in Irasburg to exploring business opportunities associated with trail biking in Concord and Hardwick’s efforts to identify development sites for growing mid-sized businesses. David Snedeker, Executive Director of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association noted that “town leaders have come to recognize the Municipal Planning Grant program as an important tool to access the funding and expertise they need to bring good local ideas to life.”
Project summaries and local contact information on the 38 grants are available here.
Awarded annually and administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Municipal Planning Grant Program works to strengthen Vermont communities. Since 1998, the program has provided over $11 million to 234 cities and towns across Vermont to help them thrive by planning for future growth and development and improving the quality of life.