In 2011, many areas of Vermont experienced significant flooding from Tropical Storm Irene. The Windham Region also experienced areas with significant flooding impacting roads, homes and businesses.
BDCC has partnered with towns, state agencies and other regional organizations to provide business and economic development recovery services. Not only is recovery in the region well underway, but new opportunities are also are being explored and implemented.
Leadership in Times of Crisis
IEDC's "Leadership in Times of Crisis: A Toolkit for Economic Recovery, & Resiliency" explains how economic development organizations (EDOs) or chambers of commerce can take a lead role in economic recovery before and after a major disaster. IEDC recently released this user-friendly guide to provide practitioners with tools, resources, how-to's, checklists and real world cases examples that highlight best practices to implement to be better prepared or to spur recovery" (http://www.iedconline.org).
Southern Vermont Post Tropical Storm Irene Recovery Project
The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies boards encouraged development of a US Economic Development Administration capacity and marketing project.
As the enormity of the recovery need became clearer, and the project grew to include downtown and village center revitalization, the Windham and Bennington County Regional Commissions stepped in with significant grant writing experience and management capability and agreed to lead the application and grant management processes.
Windham Regional Commission (WRC) and Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC), along the correlating Regional Development Corporations, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) and the Bennington County Industrial Corporation applied for and received funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration Disaster Recovery Grant program. in December of 2012. An important part of this work is to bring added professional capacity to Southern Vermont to assist with economic recovery post Tropical Storm Irene.
The project coordination team (WRC, BCRC and BDCC) were fortunate to recently hire Wendy Rae Woods and Anthony Summers to assist with this important economic recovery project. They both bring a wealth of business and planning experience to this project. Anthony and Wendy are working in Southern Vermont to assist businesses, villages and downtowns as they continue recovery from the economic impacts of Tropical Storm Irene, over the next few weeks and plan for future resiliency in your town may be contacted by Anthony or Wendy to request a meeting.
The Southern Vermont Post-Irene Recovery Project will take place over the next fifteen months and will include the following components:
- The Creation of Business Resource Service Centers
Through the Business Resource Centers, Southern Vermont business owners and entrepreneurs will have personalized access to information about resources to assist start-ups and to help existing businesses thrive. Staff will work with businesses to evaluate their needs, provide technical assistance and act as a clearinghouse to direct clients to appropriate means of assistance. Workshops will also be held on such topics as business planning, disaster recovery-continuity of operations planning, and marketing.
- Assistance with Downtown and Village Center Revitalization Planning
These efforts will focus on training sessions and a planning process to assist towns in identifying potential projects and implementation steps to increase the economic vitality and resiliency of these vital hearts of Southern Vermont communities. Workshops will also be held throughout southern Vermont on various revitalization and resiliency topics.
- Development of a Southern Vermont Sustainable Marketing Strategy
Professional marketing consultants will facilitate the development of a regional mechanism to support employers and tourism-dependent businesses in creating a long-term marketing strategy for the region.
Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery
New CDBG-DR funding opportunities coming in 2014 – please contact April H rkness at firstname.lastname@example.org
CDBG-DR Grant Announcement – December 19, 2013
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and Springfield Regional Development Corporation have received $1 million in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds through the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) to assist businesses with “unmet disaster recovery needs” related to Tropical Storm Irene over one year ago. During a recent survey of businesses, we have documented over $8 million in remaining unmet need. Unmet need refers to those items that are a direct result of flooding that have not yet been addressed through other means, such as FEMA, VEDA, or other grants, loans, or contributions. Eligible use of funds include repair of structure, repair or replace equipment, create or retain jobs, interest rate buy downs on private loans, rent subsidies and lost rental revenue.
This will be a highly competitive process as the documented unmet need greatly outweighs the funding. Working with the Business Application and Selection Criteria, a Selection Committee of representative individuals from each Region will make determinations as to which businesses will receive funding and the total amount of funds to be granted to each business. There will be 3 rounds of application due dates: January 31, 2013, February 28, 2013, and March 31, 2013. Applications must be complete to be reviewed.
Business owners will be asked to provide an overview of their operation, the background, financials, and project descriptions that will provide the information needed by the Selection Committee to make determinations. The Selection Committee will use Selection Criteria, which will include scoring on viability, impact on community and employment, and resiliency.
To assist with the application process, businesses are strongly encouraged to attend one of the workshops being provided in partnership with Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) at either the Brattleboro or Springfield location. SBDC will provide direct assistance in completing the application and helping businesses to include all required materials to have a more competitive application. Business owners will not meet directly with the Selection Committee, so a strong application is the best approach.
Business Application Workshop Schedule:
- Monday, Jan. 7th 5-7:30 p.m. – Marlboro College Graduate School, 28 Vernon St, Brattleboro
- Tuesday, Jan. 10th 2-4:30 p.m. – Howard Dean Education Center, 307 South St, Springfield
- Monday, Jan. 28th 5-7:30 p.m. – Howard Dean Education Center, 307 South St, Springfield
- Tuesday, Jan. 29th 9-11:30 a.m. – Marlboro College Graduate School, 28 Vernon St, Brattleboro
Windham County applicants, please return completed applications and direct questions to: April Harkness, BDCC, 76 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro, VT 05301. 802-257-7731 ext. 220. email@example.com
Southern Windsor County applicants, please return completed applications and direct questions to: Paul Kowalski, SRDC, 14 Clinton St, Springfield, VT 05156. 802-885-3061.
This program was successfully ended in 2012
The unanticipated effects and aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene had a major impact on business in Dover and Wilmington Vermont. Over forty business and 120 employees were immediately impacted. At a series of rapidly organized meetings, the Dover and Wilmington selectboards met with local business leaders and Brattleboro Development Credit Corp. staff to discuss possible ways to coordinate and manage certain aspects of the disaster recovery efforts for those businesses that were affected by the flooding.
The two towns contracted with BDCC to quickly hire and supervise personnel for an Emergency Business Assistance Coordination effort. That effort was outlined as one that would lead to individualized recovery planning for impacted business coordinating local, state, federal and private resources and giving assistance working with relevant government agencies to secure necessary regulatory approvals and technical assistance. The Town of Dover offered to fund the temporary position for both towns.
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