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DHCD Announces Municipal Planning Grant Recipients

December 7, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. —  The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development is pleased to announce $464,000 in Municipal Planning Grant awards to 38 communities across Vermont. This year’s Municipal Planning Grants range from $3,159 to $20,000, with total requests exceeding $780,000. Competitively awarded, 69 total applications were reviewed with 38 projects selected throughout Vermont.

Winning projects range from updating local regulations to better serve the farm and forest economy in Berkshire, a rural town at the Canadian border, to improving parking conditions in downtown Brattleboro. “These grants support diverse, locally-driven projects that address a range of issues from housing and economic development to steps that reduce future flood damages,” said Josh Hanford, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development. 

The communities of Cabot, Manchester and Winooski and others recognize that the design of their downtown or village buildings, streets and sidewalks, and how they relate to the surrounding neighborhoods, directly impacts 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, a site that attracts thousands of visitors to downtown with activities ranging from the local farmers’ market to the Vermont 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.”  

Click here for project summaries and local contact information on the 38 grants working to make Vermont’s communities stronger. 

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.