Better Places

Burlington's Holiday Market
Burlington's Holiday Market
The Better Places program will provide “placemaking” grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 that improve the vitality of state designated downtowns, village centers, new town centers, or neighborhood development areas. The Better Places partnership is a place-based economic development program that: 

•    Revitalizes and improves public spaces in support of local economic and community development efforts
•    Empowers residents to play an active role in shaping their communities, building social capital, and local pride
•    Supports local COVID-19 response and recovery efforts 
•    Advances “quick build” projects that boost confidence, builds partnerships and sparks momentum
•    Improves public health, reduces social isolation, and increases physical activity
•    Stimulates the creative economy and supports public art projects

We anticipate launching the Better Places program this fall and start accepting applications in January 2022.  Learn more about placemaking efforts in Vermont communities on our blog post, our recent article on VNRC's blog, and sign-up for AARP's monthly virtual placemaking meet ups to connect with other Vermont placemakers. 

Join us at our upcoming free placemaking workshops on October 28th and 29th to learn how public space improvements strengthen local efforts to build community and create welcoming places to gather.  Register for AARP-led placemaking workshop and explore this winter placemaking grant opportunities from AARP-VT.

Better Places Program Guide

Better Places Application Form

Better Places FAQs

Program Partners

The pilot program is funded and supported by the Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Vermont Arts Council, National Life Group Foundation, the Vermont Department of Health, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont. The program relies on the expertise and generous support of the Better Places Partners that include AARP Vermont, Local Motion, Vermont Agency of Transportation, and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets.

Additional Resources

The Department of Housing and Community Development and its partners offers tools, resources, and technical assistance to help communities reimagine and reconfigure their streets, parking areas, and public spaces during COVID-19 and beyond. 

Placemaking Tools and Resources - Resources on getting started with placemaking projects, best practices, health and wellness projects, small business-centric advice, street, pop-up, and demonstration projects, winter placemaking, parklets, creative placemaking, and funding resources.

Guidance for Restaurant and Retail Use of Right of Way – The Department of Housing and Community Development worked with the Agency of Transportation on a toolkit to help restaurants and municipalities evaluate whether to make streets, rights of way and other public infrastructure available for outdoor dining. This document provides guidance on how a portion of a state or town public highway can be used on a temporary basis for outdoor eating, retail activities, and social gatherings to help achieve the physical distancing recommendations intended to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

Guidance for Demonstration Projects in the State Right of Way – Demonstration projects are a way for communities to evaluate the impact of a roadway change, such as to improve walking, bicycling, transit access, public spaces, and traffic flow, without making a permanent, and often expensive, investment. This guidance document describes the options available, issues that need to be considered, the state approval processes, and provides links to resources with additional information. 

VTrans Bike and Pedestrian ProgramJon Kaplan with VTrans is partnering with Local Motion to offer communities free technical assistance and guidance to communities who are exploring or implementing shared street strategies.

Contact Us

Richard Amore, Planning & Outreach Manager

One National Life Drive
Deane C. Davis Building, 6th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-0501

Visit for more inspiration and information on living, working and doing business in Vermont.

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