PUTNEY, Vt. – March 24, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Two grants totaling nearly $700,000 will help preserve an historic general store and create affordable housing in Windham County, Governor Jim Douglas announced Friday.
At a ceremony at the Putney General Store, Douglas announced a $200,382 grant to the Town of Putney to assist in repairing the fire-damaged building, and a $480,000 grant to the Town of Brattleboro for an affordable housing project in West Brattleboro.
“Like so many similar stores around Vermont, the Putney General Store has been a community gathering place in addition to a place of business,” Douglas said. “These funds will help the Putney community as it works to restore this important structure.”
Heavily damaged in a May 3, 2008 fire, the Putney General Store – which opened in 1799 – was purchased late last year by the Putney Historical Society, which is overseeing its restoration and plans to lease it to a third party to operate as a general store again.
The second Vermont Community Development Program grant of $480,000 will provide a deferred loan to a housing limited partnership set up by Housing Vermont and the Brattleboro Housing Authority for the Ann Richards Redevelopment project.
The groups will use that and other funds to acquire a 27,000-square foot former bank headquarters on Western Avenue and convert it into 21 rental apartments as well as a community kitchen, community room, laundry room, and exercise room in addition to the existing 7,700 square feet of leased commercial/retail space.
This project is the first phase of a two-phase initiative by the Brattleboro Housing Authority that will include the partial conversion of the Housing Authority’s Hayes Court, which is directly behind the Richards Building, into a new assisted living center.
“This mixture of affordable housing, assisted living, and commercial space in a designated village center is the kind of smart growth that my administration has been encouraging,” Douglas said. “A community’s social and economic health benefit when its residents have easy access to housing, shopping, and services. And our dependence on automobiles and fossil fuels is reduced.”
The Governor praised the work of Housing Vermont, the Putney Historical Society, and the towns of Brattleboro and Putney, as well as the dedication of the staff at the Department of Housing and Community Affairs who work in the Vermont Community Development Program, which administers the federal Community Development Block Grants.
“These grants are important because they leverage other financial resources, nearly $5 million in the case of these two grants,” Douglas said. “This represents a significant infusion of capital into Windham County.”
The competitive grants are awarded based on recommendations of the Vermont Community Development Board and approval of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn.
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