SeVEDS and BDCC to testify on crucial economic needs with date certain VY closure

For immediate release October 25, 2013
Pat Moulton Powden, 257-7731 ext. 224

SeVEDS and BDCC to testify on crucial economic needs with date certain VY closure
Public testimony from 5-7 pm in Vernon

On Monday October 28th, the Vermont House Commerce and House Natural Resource and Energy Committees will hold a joint hearing in Windham County to hear about community and economic impacts expected from the date certain closure of Vermont Yankee.  The hearing is scheduled from 1:30 to 4:30 for regional organizations, municipalities and others to testify with an open time for public testimony from 5-7 pm at the Vernon Elementary School.

BDCC, southeastern Vermont’s regional development corporation, and SeVEDS (Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies) will testify at 2:15 PM about the pressing economic development needs, and the plans they have developed to meet those needs, in the Windham Region.

The two regional economic development organizations have prioritized projects needed to implement short and long term recovery and mitigation plans.  BDCC and SeVEDS are seeking funding, especially short term capacity funding, needed to implement the variety of programs to help stimulate the regional economy.  Both organizations are poised to work on the rebuilding of the Windham regional economy in the face of the loss of jobs, payroll and business activity resulting from the closure. These two organizations are both recognized and supported by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development and are in talks with the Agency and soon the Legislature regarding needed resources.

About BDCC and SeVEDS:

BDCC (Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation) is a private, nonprofit regional economic development organization established in 1954 managing a 2 million dollar annual operating budget.  BDCC is fortunate to generate much of its revenue from its real estate holdings.  These currently include one single use building in the Exit One Industrial Park, one available lot and land in the Exit One Industrial Park, two redeveloped industrial complexes housing 110 tenants who employ approximately 300. BDCC serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont, including Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Somerset, Searsburg, and Weston. BDCC’s primary objective is to create and retain a flourishing business community in the region it serves that supports vibrant fiscal activity, and improves the quality of life of all its residents.  BDCC is affiliated with the State of Vermont as the certified Regional Development Corporation (RDC) serving the greater Windham County area.  BDCC is one of 12 RDCs throughout Vermont.  BDCC provides staffing and some funding for SeVEDS.

SeVEDS (Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies) is an affiliate of BDCC that grew from a 2008 grass roots effort, initiated by BDCC, to reverse the economic decline of the Windham Region.  It is guided by a regional board of 18 public and private sector individuals and staffed by BDCC.  SeVEDS has solicited and received broad municipal and private sector support within the region.

After decades of little to no economic or population growth, the Windham Region, through SeVEDS, began to undergo a process to assess the current economic and demographic conditions to understand the impacting factors.  Subsequently a series of broad strategies were established, including preparing for a Post VY economy, and the region began to chart a course towards economic revitalization through refinement and implementation of those strategies, including development of a federally recognized Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).  SeVEDS has a number of economic development strategies already outlined with more being finalized along with our CEDS document.

In 2011, the Windham Region was severely impacted by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.  BDCC, the regional development corporation, has been leading a multi-regional effort to assess and recover from the business and economic damage.  Leading an effort with the Windham and Bennington County Regional Commissions, BDCC created short and longer term action plans that were funded by the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). These action plans are being implemented including individual business assistance, village and downtown revitalization, identifying long term economic plans that need to be implemented and development of a sustainable regional marketing program to attract employees and tourists to our businesses and employers.  BDCC has also taken the lead in partnership with Springfield Regional Development Corporation for CDBG-DR assistance to impacted businesses from Irene.

Understanding the existing economic challenges in SE Vermont, SeVEDS and BDCC have already added both permanent and temporary staffing capacity to handle the existing challenging economic conditions, have already developed a broad network of regional cooperation, and understand economic revitalization is a marathon and not a sprint.  Progress on revitalization plans and actions is underway.