Gov. Douglas Announces Achievement Awards and $1.6 Million in Community Development Grants
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Gov. Douglas Announces Achievement Awards and $1.6 Million in Community Development Grants

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Six municipalities honored for outstanding community development projects

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Governor Jim Douglas on has announced the award of $1.6 million in community development grants to six communities that will provide affordable housing, preserve jobs, and create shelter and housing for victims of domestic violence.

The largest Vermont Community Development Program award – $500,000 – will help the Vermont Tubbs furniture factory in Brandon continue its recovery and preserve 87 jobs in Brandon by providing needed capital.

“This grant to the town of Brandon will be loaned to Vermont Tubbs and will allow them to continue their turnaround,” the Governor said. “This is an investment in a company and jobs that are critical to Rutland County.”

The grant announcements were made Tuesday at an awards ceremony held to honor four communities – Middlebury, Jay, Barre, and Groton, as well an exceptional individual who has worked in community development for over 15 years – for their outstanding work and 13 additional communities that completed Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) projects in 2007.

Other Vermont Community Development Program grants include a $300,000 grant to City of Barre which will be used by the Good Samaritan Haven to rehabilitate and expand their current emergency shelter, and a $275,000 grant to the Town of St. Johnsbury that will assist the Gilman Housing Trust in acquiring and rehabilitating shelter for women and families victimized by domestic abuse.

“These grants are so important because they will leverage over $4.5 million in other resources and help address critical needs in these communities,” the Governor said.

Governor Douglas also praised the dedication of community leaders and volunteers who work cooperatively with the State of Vermont to support and improve the quality of life for Vermonters.

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development awards the competitive grants, based on recommendations of the Vermont Community Development Board and approval of Secretary Kevin Dorn.

VCDP COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Housing Award: Town of Middlebury, Stone Hill Housing. Through this $600,000 VCDP grant to the Town a deferred loan was provided to Housing Vermont and Addison County Community Trust to develop 26 units of multi-family affordable housing on a rocky 3.88 acre parcel of land in Middlebury and 18 of the units are designated to low to moderate income families.

Economic Development Award: Town of Jay, Jay Peak Golf. Through this $748,664 VCDP grant to the Town a loan was provided to Jay Peak Inc. to help fund the construction and operation of an 18 hole golf course and academy at the base of the existing Jay Peak Ski Resort. The addition of the Jay Peak Golf Course to Jay Peak Ski Area has allowed it to become a year round resort, providing year round employment to an additional 46 individuals in Orleans and Franklin Counties.

Public Facility Award: City of Barre, Battered Women’s Services and Shelter. Through this $190,000 VCDP grant the City provided a sub-grant of VCDP funds to the Battered Women’s Services and Shelter (BWSS), a non-profit organization providing service to women and children fleeing domestic violence, to make the facility handicapped accessible, create 4 additional bedrooms, increase and improve common areas, add storage space for donations, and additional site improvements..

Community Development Champion: Edwin Stretch. Ed built Gilman Housing Trust into a full fledged community development organization, enlarging the portfolio to include more than 400 affordable homes and apartments while effectively reinvigorating village centers and downtowns in the Northeast Kingdom—Vermont’s most rural and economically challenged area. The development work reflects Ed’s tenacity, his leadership skills, and his vision for community development.

Commissioner’s Award: Town of Groton, Groton Housing. Through this $454,100 VCDP grant the Town provided a deferred loan to Gilman Housing Trust and Housing Vermont which assisted in the creation of 19-units of affordable housing, benefiting 41 low-to-moderate-income Groton residents. Not only did the $7 million project create and preserve 19 safe, attractive and affordable apartments, it also provided new space for the critical elements of any successful rural town—a new town library, space for local businesses, and streetscape and park improvements.

VCDP 2007 CYCLE II AWARDS

IMPLEMENTATION GRANTS

City of Barre $300,000 Subgrant to Good Samaritan Haven to rehab their current emergency shelter facility and construct an addition. The rehab will include installation of a sprinkler system, upgrades to heating and ventilation system, structural repairs and ADA improvements. The addition will include a fully accessible bathroom and common space.

City of Newport $191,500 Deferred loan/subgrant to Gilman Housing Trust, Inc. to rehabilitate the 107-119 Main Street Newport property currently owned by the Passumpsic Savings Bank for creation of 13 units of affordable senior housing.

Town of St. Johnsbury $275,000 Subgrant to Gilman Housing Trust to acquire and rehabilitate 418 Railroad Street for Umbrella, an non-profit organization that provides counseling and shelter for women and their families who are victims of domestic abuse, to create 8 units of shelter and transitional housing in St. Johnsbury.

Town of Brandon $500,000 Loan to Vermont Tubbs furniture manufacturing plant to retain 87 jobs in Brandon, of which 77 of the employees meet the current Low/Moderate income guidelines requirement.

$1,566,500 Total Implementation Grants

PLANNING GRANTS

Town of Randolph $30,000 Subgrant to Randolph Area Community Development Corporation to conduct predevelopment work for a mixed use development at the former Ethan Allen property on Salisbury and School Street which will consist of locating all underground utilities, making recommendations regarding the roads and utilities, performing a traffic study, performing the architectural assessment, and other related activities.

City of Rutland $15,000 Grant to complete a marketing/management analysis in order to attract retail businesses to empty storefronts in the Special Benefits District located in the City.

$60,000 Total Planning Grants

$1,626,500 Total Grants

For information about the Vermont Community Development Program, please see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website at: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/VCDP/index.htm

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