On May 1, 2019, the Vermont Downtown Development Board allocated over $600,000 in grants to help revitalize eight downtowns in the state. The grants will support sidewalk improvements in Randolph, St. Albans, and Newport; expand Comtu Falls Park in Springfield; provide wayfinding signs in Montpelier and Winooski; and enhance the rail station in Middlebury.
“This exciting agency partnership aligns state transportation and clean water investments to help strengthen Vermont’s downtowns,” said Acting Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford. “13 communities requested nearly $1M to fund projects that support the continuing renaissance of our downtowns.”
In related news, a portion of Clean Water Fund money will go towards green infrastructure improvements to help Randolph and Burlington reduce stormwater runoff within their downtowns. The Clean Water Fund provides financial assistance to municipalities, farmers, and others to implement green infrastructure projects that use natural processes to control flooding, reduce erosion, and improve water quality.
“The new downtown clean water fund encourages cities and towns to identify opportunities to install green stormwater management practices when planning improvements to sidewalks and parking areas,” said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Moore. “Addressing stormwater in conjunction with other planned investments are cost effective ‘win-win’ that improves both our waters and quality of life.”
The Downtown Transportation Fund supports revitalization efforts in Designated Downtowns each year by investing in the infrastructure of public spaces, stimulating public investment and creating a sense of identity and pride in Downtowns across Vermont. Since its inception in 1999, the program has invested over $10 million supporting over 120 capital improvement projects in 23 communities, leveraging over $30 million in additional funding.
“Through this partnership between agencies, we can collaborate to modernize Vermont towns and our transportation systems,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “Improved sidewalks strengthen our communities, and improved rail stations mean better service for Vermonters and visitors.”
Summary of 2019 Grants:
- Burlington – Great Streets on Bank and Cherry project ($79,000) will support green stormwater improvements with clean water funding, part of a much larger comprehensive streetscape enhancement of 6 blocks in Burlington’s downtown.
- Middlebury – Rail Platform and Parking Amenities project ($100,000) will support parking amenities to serve a new rail platform at the Amtrak station in downtown Middlebury.
- Montpelier – Downtown Wayfinding System ($100,000) will create a comprehensive wayfinding plan that will make it easier for visitors to navigate the capital city.
- Newport – Streetscape Improvements ($85,000), a priority identified in the recently completed Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan, supports pedestrian safety improvements to one of downtown Newport’s busiest intersections.
- Randolph – Pleasant and Merchant Street Improvements ($73,350) will address pedestrian and vehicular safety concerns at a busy intersection while using clean water funding to enhance green stormwater infrastructure with trees and rain gardens.
- Springfield – Comtu Cascade Park Expansion ($70,000) provides pedestrian access to the riverfront by expanding public green space along the Black River.
St Albans – Kingman Streetscape Project ($100,000) will help install new sidewalks, crosswalks, lights and trees in the last downtown block to get improvements consistent with the rest of downtown.
- Winooski – Wayfinding Sign Plan ($9,570) will help welcome visitors to the city, provide signage guiding them to destinations and parking facilities.
The Department of Housing and Community Development works to support vibrant and resilient communities, promote safe and affordable housing for all, protect the state’s historic resources, and improve the quality of life for Vermonters.
The mission of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) is to help Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities. ACCD accomplishes this mission by providing grants, technical assistance, and advocacy through three divisions: The Department of Economic Development, the Department of Tourism and Marketing, and the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Photo of St. Albans courtesy of Vermont Downtown Development Board.