EDA awards $470,000 in disaster funding to Regional Commissions for Capacity Building in Southern Vermont

Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch fought to include the special one-time EDA disaster funding in last year’s disaster recovery bill, and then advocated for funding for the Windham Regional Commission and the Bennington County Regional Commission in a letter sent to the EDA Regional Director in June 2012.

“Many of our towns have been dealing with public infrastructure recovery and haven’t had the time or resources to focus on long term development and resiliency planning,” Windham Regional Commission Associate Director Susan McMahon said.  “These funds are critical and timely to help our historic downtown and village centers recover and thrive. We are grateful to our congressional delegation, EDA and State and local partners for helping us bring these resources to Southern Vermont.”

This project is funded through the FY 2012 Disaster Relief Opportunity administered through the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Each disaster recovery investment is intended to support a community’s long-term recovery, spur job creation, leverage private investment, and promote disaster resiliency.

“We are really pleased with the scope of this project,” said McMahon.   “The flood recovery offices will be working with businesses throughout Windham and Bennington Counties and the Town of Weston, developing a sustainable marketing network for employer recruitment and tourism and coordinating help for downtown and village planning and revitalization to assure resilient recovery of these important community centers.”

The project development began more than a year ago when the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation started looking for ways to add flood recovery personnel in the region following their work with the towns of Dover and Wilmington on Emergency Businesses Assistance Coordination (EBAC).  Windham and Bennington Regional Commissions quickly got on board to help shape a proposal to bring on recovery capacity for the two southern Vermont counties.

"This project and these funds are critically needed to help Southern Vermont continue to recover from Irene and to create new sustainable opportunities for our economy to thrive,” said Laura Sibilia, Economic Development Project Director for the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation.  “This is a very good day!  We are so thankful that both of the Regional Commissions understood the critical nature of this project and agreed to partner with us to shepherd the project through the federal systems." 

Partners in the project are numerous and include a number of departments within the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Brattleboro and Bennington downtown organizations, several towns and multiple chambers of commerce in southern Vermont.

"This project represents a true regional collaboration, as a number of community development, economic development, planning and not-for-profit entities across Windham and Bennington Counties come together to assist those still struggling to recover economically from Tropical Storm Irene.  We are grateful for the funding by the EDA and for the tremendous support of this project shown by Vermont's congressional delegation."  William Colvin, Director - Sustainable Community Development, Bennington County Regional Commission.

For more information on the project, go to the WRC's Community Development page.

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