VHCB Funding Awards Support Housing Development, Historic Preservation, and Land Conservation Around the State
December 2019 and January 2020 VHCB Awards
At meetings in December and January, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board awarded $7.6 million in state and federal funds for housing developments and conservation projects around the state. Executive Director Gus Seelig said,
"These funding awards will support and strengthen Vermont communities, creating and rehabilitating housing for households at a range of incomes, conserving important working lands, providing public access to forestland for recreation, and protecting wildlife habitat and water quality. These investments create opportunity and build resiliency across sectors, bolstering our economy, providing jobs in the construction and recreation industries, and supporting the agricultural and forest products enterprises that form the backbone of the Vermont brand."
A supplemental award of $100,000 in VHCB funding will be used by Downstreet Housing & Community Development for work on the historic downtown Stimson Graves building, with 14 apartments with rental assistance for seniors in Waterbury. Rehabilitation will include new windows, a new furnace, apartment upgrades, and accessibility improvements. The Waterbury Senior Center is located on the ground floor of the building.
The Lamoille Housing Partnership and Housing Vermont will use $1,400,000 in Housing Revenue Bond funding and $585,000 in HOME funding for Village Center Apartments, a new, 24-unit apartment building to be constructed in downtown Morrisville. The infill site is located off Portland Street in the heart of the downtown, in proximity to shopping, recreation, social and health care services, schools, entertainment, and public transportation.
The City of St Albans was awarded $150,000 in Housing Revenue Bond funding for site improvements associated with the Maiden Lane redevelopment project. The City is creating the parking and foundations for two housing developments to be built in the center of the downtown: 10 Maiden Lane and 20 Congress Street.
Washington County Mental Health will use $158,400 in VHCB funding to rehabilitate 4 apartments on Barre Street in Montpelier used by clients of the agency and community partners for more than 25 years. Currently three of the apartments are leased through the Good Samaritan Haven, Central Vermont’s homeless shelter, to serve as transitional housing for individuals on a path to more permanent housing. Rehab will include roof and heating system replacement, rebuilding the chimney and repairing the front porch.
With $1.1M in HRB funding, $562,711 in VHCB funds, and $540,000 in federal HOME Program funding, the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust will renovate a vacant auto repair facility and parking garage to create 26 new apartments and a small commercial space. Located prominently at the northern end of Bellows Falls, the new housing will be within walking distance to the train station, bus stops, social services, and shops. A community room with a kitchen and a rooftop deck are incorporated in the design.
On Stuart Avenue in Colchester, VHCB awards of $1.7M in Housing Revenue Bond funds and $500,000 in federal HOME Program funds will be used by the Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont to build 36 new family rental apartments—the first affordable housing to be created in this designated Growth Center at the intersection of Routes 2 and 127. The homes will be part of a larger community development project that will include more than 200 market rate apartments and condominiums, retail, commercial, and office space, restaurants, and a day care center. The site will include community gardens and will be adjacent to a neighborhood playground, open space, trails and walking and bike paths.
The Champlain Housing Trust will convert underutilized commercial space to add six apartments to the 16 existing apartments at the old Swanton School. The original apartments were developed in the vacant schoolhouse in 2000. A VHCB award of $75,000 will allow CHT to complete a $2M financing package for the development.
With $20,000 in VHCB funding, the Addison County Community Trust will contract for an action plan to restructure and improve the organization’s portfolio of mobile home parks.
An award of $116,000 in VHCB funding will help the Putney Mountain Association to acquire and conserve 55 acres. The project includes four trail easements that will extend the Putney Mountain Association/ Windmill Hill Pinnacle Trail south to Prospect Hill in Dummerston. Wildlife corridors, a tributary of the West River, and permanent public access will be protected by the acquisitions, which will connect to larger blocks of conserved land to the north, forming a 40+-mile trail system running along a ridgeline parallel to the Connecticut River through the towns of Rockingham, Westminster, Putney, Athens, Brookline, and Dummerston.
In Cambridge, the Vermont Land Trust will use $50,000 in VHCB funding to help create the Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve, a new, town-owned, 51-acre natural area adjacent to the Cambridge Pines State Forest and Natural Area. The acquisition will allow for improved public access to the state forest and provide public access to forestland and meadows on the property itself. Local fundraising is underway and, along with a town donation, will complete the project budget, with the goal of raising funds to create a new parking area, bridges and boardwalks for a trail to connect with the state forest.
The Conservation Fund will work with the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, using $82,500 in VHCB funding to conserve 183 acres of privately owned working forestland in Townshend. The acreage will build on the success of the three easement parcels recently conserved in the Windham Region Working Forest Initiative Project, which was awarded federal Forest Legacy Program funding in fiscal year 2014. An easement on the subject property will allow for sustainable production of forest products, will protect and maintain wildlife habitats, and will ensure public access for dispersed recreation. Furthermore, the easement includes special protections for more than 26 acres of surface water buffers along extensive stream frontage and wetlands, protecting headwater streams of Simpson Brook located on the property and helping to maintain flood resilience downstream.
At the Richardson Farm on Garvin Hill in Hartland, the Richardson family is working with the Upper Valley Land Trust to conserve a 74-acre sugarbush abutting their home farm, where they operate an intergenerational, diversified small dairy, sugaring operation, and split rail fencing business. The 194-acre home farm was previously conserved with VHCB support, as was a separate 96-acre sugarbush owned by the family. The project will be the first sugarbush in Vermont to be conserved with federal funding through NRCS, matching $119,000 in NRCS funding with an award of $140,000 from VHCB.
VHCB will provide $20,000 to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to support the development of long-range management plans for the many natural areas and recreational lands acquired and/or conserved by the Agency. The management plans outline each property’s specific ecological, recreational, cultural/historical, legal, infrastructure, and other conditions, incorporating public input in the planning process. Each dollar of VHCB funds will be matched by $4 of federal funds for the development of long-range management plans for State Forests, Parks, and Wildlife Management Areas held and managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.
HOUSING & CONSERVATION
VHCB awarded $995,000 in state funding and $150,286 in federal HOME Program funding for Organizational Development Grants to 20 non-profit organizations around the state developing housing and conserving land. The funds support operating costs, equipment, and technical assistance needs of the organizations.