Community Development

Staff:  susan Westa

Guided by its Community Development Committee, WRC works to help its member towns and the overall region on housing, community resources and economic development issues and projects.  WRC’s brownfields work is guided by the community development needs of the region.  

Recent efforts have included providing assistance to towns on infrastructure projects, community development block grants, telecommunications planning and village center planning and revitalization.  WRC also has been actively participating in the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategy (SEVEDS).

Community Development Models Webinar

Tripp Muldrow a principal in the firm Arnett Muldrow & Associates in Greenville, South Carolina, presented a webinar on October 28, 2020. Tripp shared community development models that he has used or seen successfully used in communities around the country including in Vermont. The models Tripp presented range from Main Street organizations including Vermont’s Designated Downtown and Village Center program to Community Development Corporations to informal partnerships, local revitalization investment groups, as well as the Orton Family Foundation’s Community Heart and Soul program and others.  You can view the webinar here.

Opportunity Zone Presentation

This presentation was shared at the Community Development Committee meeting on August 14, 2020 by Jessica Dominguez and Joe Ferrari from EPA Region 1. Opportunity Zones are an important redevelopment tool and can be combined with other financing, including brownfields funds, to close the funding gap and bring properties back to life.  Click here for the presentation.

Fostering Conditions for Local and Regional Economic Growth

The BDCC, SeVEDS and the Southern Vermont Economy Project held a panel discussion on municipal economic development tools Wednesday, March 29th, from 4-6pm, at the Dover Town Hall. The panel provided municipalities and community members with an understanding of what tools are available for fostering economic development in their communities. The following representatives shared their technical expertise, programmatic information and legislative updates:

  • Jon Michael Muise, USDA-RD VT/NH – Funding & Service
  • Chris Saunders, Sen. Leahy – Federal Updates, Blueprint Proposal, EDA
  • Susan McMahon, WRC – WRC Resources and services
  • Adam Grinold, BDCC – BDCC & SeVEDs
  • R.T. Brown, BDCC/Windham County Economic Development Program (WCEDP)

Videos from this panel discussion can be viewed here.

Tri-State Region CEDS Comparison Report Released

In response to the closure of Vermont Yankee and its related socioeconomic impacts, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG), Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC), Windham Regional Commission (WRC), and Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) have formed a collaborative to better understand and confront these economic disruptions through a comprehensive multi-phased planning approach. Each area of the Tri-State Region, herein after referred to as Region, has developed its own comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) through a public planning process. A CEDS is designed to bring together sectors in the creation of an economic roadmap to diversify and strengthen regional economies. The CEDS analyzes the regional economy and serve as a guide for establishing regional goals and objectives, developing and implementing a regional plan of action, and identifying investment priorities and funding sources. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), believes that the goals of the CEDS are to contribute “to effective economic development in America’s communities and regions through a locally-based, regionally-driven economic development planning process.”

This report contains a comparison of elements from the 2015 Greater Franklin County CEDS Plan, the 2014 Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategy (SeVEDS), and the 2015 Southwest Region Planning Commission CEDS. This planning exercise identifies key goals and assets, shared challenges, and potential opportunities for the Tri-State Region. By comparing each region’s CEDS, this document seeks to identify commonalities within the three regions, opportunities for aligning on-going efforts, and serve as a guide for future Tri-State Region endeavors. Funding was provided by the EDA in partnership with the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, as well as the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Southwest Region Planning Commission, and Windham Regional Commission to support this CEDS comparison and collaboration building among these partnering organizations.

Link to report:  PDF

Two WRC Projects Included in 2016 CEDS

Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) announced the projects submitted for inclusion in the 2016 CEDS (Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies) along with the list of 14 projects ranked at Vital Projects. Vital Projects are the top ranked projects in terms of alignment and potential to advance the goals and objectives of the CEDS. CEDS Projects are submitted as significant activities which are happening around the region that can help implement the CEDS. Projects are given priority based on their regionality, impact on raising wage parity and/or creating or sustaining jobs in the region, growing and/or retaining new businesses or products, ability to leverage regional assets, contribute to and/or sustain the quality of place in our region. Two of the 14 vital projects were submitted by WRC:

To learn more about the Windham Region CEDS go to SeVEDs website.

A Downtown and Village Revitalization Resource

WRC, along with Bennington County Regional Commission, has developed a website, Strengthening Southern Vermont, to assist southern Vermont communities with downtown and village center revitalization. This website, developed with EDA Disaster Recovery Funds, provides a toolkit of information and resources to help communities build vibrancy and economic resiliency. Among the resources are links to useful guides and information, implementation strategies, funding sources, case studies, and government and non-profit entities that offer additional information.

Municipal Shared Services

In response to our towns struggling to keep their municipal budgets under control, WRC has been working with town officials investigating the potential for intermunicipal cooperation for shared municipal services.   On March 19th over 30 town officials from 15 towns attended a meeting in Townshend and generated many exciting ideas.  To get ideas flowing the following presentations were given by WRC staff (Chris Campany and Susan McMahon) and Bob Dean of Franklin Regional Council of Governments.

After the Flood: Regenerative Design, Renewal, Resilience

Two years after Tropical Storm Irene Marlboro College’s Center for Creative Solutions, in partnership with Windham Regional Commission, led a six day workshop in the Town of Londonderry to re-imagine uses for properties on Main Street in the Village of Londonderry that were destroyed by the flooding. The Town is buying these properties with funds from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. 

The workshop, After the Flood: Regenerative Design, Renewal, Resilience, brought together community residents, professionals and students from a diversity of fields to engage in a collaborative creative planning process that is as much about building community as generating innovative ideas.  To support this work WRC applied for and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Windham Foundation.

For a copy of the report, click here

Information on Wastewater Solutions for Vermont Communities

Information about the process of developing a community plan to address wastewater and water issues was presented at the October, 2013 Full Commission meeting by Lynette Whitney, engineer with the VT Department of Environmental Conservation.  The lack of community water and wastewater in our villages without it can put human health at risk, make it difficult to retain existing businesses and homes, and serve as a barrier to growth.  Please contact the Windham Regional Commission if you’d like us to help facilitate a conversation about these issues in your community. 

Link to Lynette's presentation.  Lynette’s contact information is below.

Lynnette Whitney, P.E.
Pollution Control Design Chief
Department of Environmental Conservation
National Life Building  MAIN 1
1 National Life Drive
Montpelier, VT 05620-3510
Tel. 802-490-6226 

Data Sources for Grant Writing

The Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont’s Regional Planning Commissions, and Congressman Peter Welch’s office sponsored a day-long grant writing workshop that was held at Mt. Snow January 23.  The following are Vermont Data Sources that were referenced during the workshop that may be useful in preparing grant applications.  You can also contact the WRC for data about the region and your town.


Last Updated: 03 December 2020
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