Governor Phil Scott, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch Announce $7.9 Million In Northern Border Regional Commission Grants

Jen Hollar and Katie Michels accepting NRBC funding award Rich Grogan, NBRC Executive Director, Congressman Peter Welch, Jen Hollar and Katie Michels (VHCB), Senator Leahy, and Governor Phil Scott at an event celebrating recent grants from the Northern Regional Border Commission.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Governor Phil Scott, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch Announce $7.9 Million In Northern Border Regional Commission Grants

Springfield, Vt. – Gov. Phil Scott, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, and officials from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) announced Friday that 18 Vermont organizations, including the Southern Windsor County Incubator in Springfield, will receive more than $7.9 million in federal grants to spur job creation, build essential infrastructure, train new workers, and develop communities.

“The NBRC has quickly become one of the largest economic development tools we have in Vermont,” said Scott, who serves as State Co-Chair of the NBRC. “These grants help build critical infrastructure, expand our workforce, and strengthen our communities. Vermonters in nearly every corner of the state will feel the impact of these grants with projects like the creation of a new childcare facility in Alburgh, an improved water system in Randolph, outdoor recreation facilities in the Northeast Kingdom and the continued operation of a paper mill in Brattleboro.”

“These projects will ensure that rural areas have the same opportunities for success as urban areas and contribute to the economic wellbeing of our state,” said Leahy, who championed the NBRC’s $25 million budget as vicechair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Today we are also marking the first NBRC awards targeted to reviving our forest-based economy. Our region has an incredible asset in the Northern Forest, but we need to invest to ensure that Vermont communities can leverage that asset to create jobs and these funds will do just that.”

“Far too often, rural America is left behind when it comes to economic development, which is why the Northern Border Regional Commission is so critical,” said U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was represented at Wednesday’s announcement by a member of his staff.  “Providing federal funding for projects such as childcare, water infrastructure, and workforce development in some of the most economically challenged areas of our state will go a long way to help make these communities more resilient, healthy, and vibrant.”

“These grants will provide a vital boost to communities across our state that need it most,” said Welch. “By investing in projects from childcare to infrastructure, these grants will have widespread economic and community development benefits for Vermont communities.”

During Wednesday’s announcement in Springfield, Black River Innovation Campus Executive Director Trevor Barlow said the organization will use a $235,162 grant to repurpose the old Park Street School in Springfield into an entrepreneurial hub comprised of coworking space, apartments and educational space.  The project aims to build a digital economy ecosystem in Springfield by attracting tech-based start-ups and providing digital skills training. 

Scott, the Congressional Delegation, and NBRC officials presented awards totaling $3,436,118 to Barlow and representatives of 12 other organizations receiving NBRC state Economic and Infrastructure Development grants Wednesday, including:

  • City of St. Albans - $443,956: To build basic public infrastructure to redevelop the former Fonda/solo manufacturing site.
  • Vermont Community Loan Fund - $250,000: To launch a new low-interest revolving loan fund to support capital needed for Vermont's working lands, forestry, and outdoor recreation sectors entrepreneurs.
  • Burke Fire District #1 - $185,000: To replace/install 2.4 miles of water mains, services, new well, storage tank and water meters to allow continued growth in busy recreational area.
  • Northeastern Vermont Development Association - $250,000: To identify the NEK as an outdoor recreation trails destination to attract new businesses, create new jobs and market local businesses.
  • Let's Grow Kids - $250,000: To expand the “Make Way for Kids” project supporting job retention by enabling parents with children zero to five 5 to stay in/return to the workforce.
  • Alburgh School District - $250,000: To build a childcare center at the Alburgh Community School to allow families to remain in and enter the workforce.
  • Vermont Business Roundtable - $250,000: To run the Vermont Talent Pipeline Management system to expand workforce participation and anticipate needs of employers.
  • Vermont Council on Rural Development - $122,000: To expand the Community Visit Program to additional Vermont communities.
  • City of Winooski - $450,000: To install 0.75 miles of new municipally-owned underground infrastructure as part of Winooski's Main Street Revitalization project.
  • City of Newport - $250,000: To improve pedestrian and motorist safety at Newport's downtown gateway.
  • Town of Randolph - $450,000: To make improvements to the town water system.
  • College of St. Joseph - $50,000:  To create a strategy, business plan and ecosystem map to create a center for innovation and excellence at the Rutland campus.

“The NBRC looks forward to working with the 58 Economic and Infrastructure Development grant recipients across the four states over the next three years that are aimed at enhancing and aligning job skills with emerging businesses, improving rural communities and increasing the longevity and reliability of critical public infrastructure to support local businesses,” stated NBRC’s Executive Director Rich Grogan.

In a separate announcement Wednesday, Grogan and NBRC Federal CoChair Harold Parker also announced that five Vermont affiliated organizations were awarded $4,532,337 in NBRC Regional Forest Economy Partnership (RFEP) Grants.  The NBRC RFEP program was created in 2019 to make regionally significant investments in communities negatively impacted by the decline in the forest-based economy.

  • Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation - $1,000,000:  To design and permit a biomass combined heat and power energy plant at Long Falls Paperboard
  • Vermont Technical College - $1,000,000: Tol create educational pathways to train and educate a skilled workforce in the forestry field for better woodland management and stewardship.
  • The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board - $624,060: To advance the agricultural economy by launching the Northeast Agricultural Business Assistance Network throughout the four-states in the NBRC region.
  • Preservation Trust of Vermont (through the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance) - $1,000,000: To establish the Northern Heritage Economy Program in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York to help communities undertake community-driven preservation projects with strong economic revitalization potential (a portion of these funds will be used in Vermont).
  • Northern Forest Center - $908,277:  To launch the Northern Forest Rural Destination Development Initiative in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York to attract visitors and improve the quality of life for residents (a portion of these funds will be used in Vermont).  

Created in the 2008 Farm Bill, NBRC is a federal-state partnership with a mission to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private-sector job creation throughout the northern counties of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Since its inception, the Commission has more than $56 million, which has leveraged more than $100 million to support 248 grants across the four states. In Vermont, including this year’s grantees, it has funded 72 projects totaling more than $15.6 million.