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Southern Vermont Projects Funded to Mitigate the Economic Impacts of VY Closure


Green Building Cluster, Business Acceleration and Tri State region CEDS alignment

Windham County, VT - On Monday August 31st, Senator Patrick Leahy announced that the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) has been awarded $265K by the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The federal award was the final piece of funding needed for a $530K project which will launch two major initiatives outlined in the Windham Region S.M.A.R.T. CEDS: Development of a Green Building Cluster Study and the initiation and operation of the Southern Vermont Business Innovation Accelerator.

The project will also provide coordinated funding for a tri-state region strategic planning collaboration involving the regional planning commissions from Franklin County, Massachusetts, Cheshire County, New Hampshire and the Windham Region in Vermont. The projects are intended to help replace jobs being lost due to the recent Entergy Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant (VY) shutdown and the resulting staff reductions which began in January of 2015 and will continue through 2020.

Federal funding was awarded under the EDA's Economic Adjustment Assistance Program. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been a leading advocate for EDA to help identify and develop best practices to aid communities facing nuclear power plant closures, including the coordination of economic development efforts across multiple states or Economic Development Districts.

"At a time of transition for the local economy, it is important to be thoughtful about the new directions the community wants to invest in. The grant we are announcing today will help the region identify specific areas in the green building market that are ripe for investment. We know the region has expertise in this area and I believe this region is well poised to nurture and grow a green building sector and I look forward to the results of this work," said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

In December of 2014, BDCC was awarded grants of $99K for the Green Building Cluster Study and $77K for the Southern Vermont Business Innovation Accelerator from the Windham County Economic Development Program which is managed by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Funding for the Windham County Economic Development Program comes from a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Vermont and Entergy, in which Entergy agreed to provide $2M per year for five years to the State of Vermont to promote economic development in Windham County.

"This is great news for the region. BDCC and SeVEDS have worked hard to advance these projects which will help create the entrepreneurial ecosystem needed for continued business growth in Windham County," commented Patricia Moulton, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. "This is economic development strategy continuing to come alive in Windham County. Our ongoing thanks to Senator Leahy for being such a champion for economic development."

In the Windham Region, economic development leaders raised concerns about losses from the VY closure years before the closure was announced. A highly successful CEDS process was undertaken in 2013, out of which these initiatives have grown. Creating jobs and productivity in Southeastern Vermont requires highly structured, strategic, and proactive work to overcome a regional economy that has had fundamental weaknesses. BDCC Executive Director Adam Grinold lauded the long term strategic planning undertaken by the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) initiative to create the federally approved S.M.A.R.T. Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy which contains a lengthy action plan and numerous strategic projects to be undertaken.

"These first projects are designed to build on a growing economic sector with leadership assets developed in Southern Vermont that have led the development of green building knowledge and awareness nationally and internationally," said Grinold. "Providing increased supports for entrepreneurs and working with our tri state region neighbors are critical elements in our plan to replace jobs and productivity lost with the VY closure. We've thrilled to be able to get to work on these implementation projects."

Accelerating the Green Building Sector project description is available for viewing at:
http://www.brattleborodevelopment.com/_files/docs/dingclusterandtri-stat...

About BDCC, SeVEDS and the Windham Region CEDS: BDCC is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont, including Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, and Weston. The primary objective of BDCC is to create and retain a flourishing business community in the Windham Region 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. For more information on BDCC visit www.brattleborodevelopment.com

SeVEDS is an affiliate of BDCC that grew from a 2008 grassroots effort, initiated by BDCC, to reverse the economic decline of the Windham Region. In 2014, after multiple years of regional input, education and data gathering, SeVEDS submitted the Windham Region's federally recognized Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. For more information on the CEDS or SeVEDS visit www.seveds.com.

For further info contact: Adam Grinold, Executive Director BDCC at 257-7731 ext 224 or aginold@brattleborodevelopment.com

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