Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone,
Rural Community Development Initiative
Southern Vermont Economy Project
The Southern Vermont Economy Project will develop regional capacity to support economic development across Windham and Bennington counties. This project builds on a successful collaboration formed as the region struggled to recover from the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Irene, which wiped out infrastructure, downtowns and small businesses in communities that continue to struggle even today. The project aims to improve capacity within recipient organizations serving some of the Southern Vermont region’s most challenged small towns, so they are able to better organize locally or regionally (as appropriate) to undertake economic development projects assist these communities more effectively. The applicant and Intermediary is the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) a Vermont Regional Development Corporation serving the Windham Region. The recipients are twelve qualified public, private and nonprofit community development organizations serving low-income rural communities. Some work at the local level, others provide region-wide support as well.
BDCC is requesting $230,000 from the USDA Rural Community Development Initiative for the Southern Vermont Economy Project, to be used over two years. The goal is to improve economic development by building capacity within twelve recipient organizations serving the region’s most challenged towns, to improve their ability to act locally and collaborate regionally, to undertake economic development planning and projects. The project will improve regional capacity to support economic development across the Windham and Bennington Regions by building capacity within recipient organizations serving Southern Vermont, one Vermont’s most disadvantaged Regions. It builds on a successful collaboration formed as the region struggled to recover from the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Irene.
The applicant and Intermediary is the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC). The recipients were carefully selected because they serve the region’s most challenged communities. The recipients are qualified public, private and nonprofit community development organizations serving low-income rural communities within the Windham and Bennington Regions. The project specifically targets communities with the highest need based on population, median household wage and poverty. In the Bennington Region these are the towns of Rupert, Peru, Searsburg, Readsboro and Bennington; In Windham these are Rockingham, Bellows Falls, Wardsboro, Marlboro, Halifax and Brattleboro. A project area map showing town locations is provided in the “Evaluation Criteria” section of this application.
The bulk of funding will be used to hire 1 full time employee (FTE) and to deploy staff and consultants within qualified community and economic development organizations throughout Southern Vermont. The new personnel put in place will conduct trainings and will work with the qualified Southern Vermont recipients to improve coordination and delivery of technical services to improve economic development activity and outcomes. This includes workforce training, promotion and recruitment, business development, business finance and access to capital.