NEWS: Sanders, Leahy, Welch And Scott Announce $4.5 M. In N. Border Grants To 14 Vermont Communities

MONTPELIER, Vt. (MONDAY, Aug. 9, 2021) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), Representative Peter Welch (D), Governor Phil Scott (R) announced Monday that 14 Vermont organizations will receive more than $4.5 million in federal grants to promote economic development across the Green Mountain State.  Funds will help local communities address critical water infrastructure needs, open new childcare programs, develop outdoor recreation infrastructure and expand the state’s food hubs which support the distribution of local agricultural products. 

Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said:  “While these awards range from critical infrastructure to childcare and art studios, the common thread that ties them together is how they will benefit the Vermont economy.  Each of our communities has distinct needs and these awards will bring tangible benefits both to local residents and the broader region.”  In his leading Appropriations Committee role, Leahy has increased funding for the Commission in the annual Appropriations bills by tens of millions of dollars and increased the Commission’s territory to make every Vermont community eligible for grants.

Sanders said:  “It is no secret that Vermont communities are struggling.  Many, especially in our rural areas, feel undervalued and left behind.  The truth is that all Vermonters deserve a federal government that works for them, which is why this funding is so important.  These projects – locally developed and federally-funded – will help countless Vermonters with basic human needs, like strong water systems; quality, affordable child care; safe, affordable housing; improvements to natural resources like public lands and trails; and job training. Together, these projects will improve the lives of our friends and neighbors while strengthening our local economies.”

Welch said:  “These grants give us the ability to make targeted investments in local economies throughout the region, and will give more Vermonters access to clean water and affordable housing, childcare, and food. As we work towards an equitable post-pandemic recovery, these funds will provide communities with critical support.”

Scott said:  “I want to thank our Congressional Delegation for their continued federal support of the NBRC.  As we begin to rebuild following the worst of the pandemic, projects like these will help secure the foundation for a strong recovery in our communities.”

They announced this list of Vermont grantees:   

  • City of Barre — $142,733 to make wastewater improvements that allow development of up to 32 subdivisions, retain 8 businesses, and retain 320 jobs in Barre City and Barre Town.
  • Community Development Support, Inc. — $350,000 to acquire and substantially renovate a vacant and blighted historic building in downtown Brattleboro that will house the Innovation HUB, and 19 net new affordable housing units.
  • Cross Vermont Trail Assoc, Inc. — $75,000 to build 1.55 miles of universally accessible path.
  • Dorset Fire District #1 — $500,000 to replace over 3.2 miles of aged water main and water service lines to improve system capacity to support future development in Dorset Village.
  • Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation — $175,000 to purchase a vacant building in Randolph to house a high-quality, affordable childcare program.
  • North Calais Memorial Hall Association — $222,000 for the restoration the 1886 hall which will make it available for community events.
  • Town of Middlebury — $600,000 for the replacement of a critical water transmission main to provide reliable potable water supply and fire suppression to the Downtown business district.
  • Town of New Haven — $350,000 for the relocation of the historic New Haven Rail Station from its current site to a location adjacent to the Town Office.
  • Town of St. Johnsbury — $806,851 for the design and construction a trail and a new S. Main Street underpass the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to the downtown.
  • Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets — $350,000 to make up to eight competitive grants to Vermont’s non-profit food hubs to help with critical infrastructure needs.
  • Vermont Agency of Transportation — $492,000 For the design, permitting, and construction of a new terminal building to replace the outdated existing facility at the Northeast Kingdom International (NEKI) Airport.
  • Vermont Farmers Market Education Center, Inc. — $350,000 to support the construction of the Commercial Kitchen Center, which will house a product development kitchen for lease to 5-10 local food entrepreneurs per year, and a culinary training kitchen that will certify up to 25 students per year in food safety and preparation.
  • Vermont Granite Museum of Barre — $100,000 for the Vermont Granite Museum to construct three classrooms to teach stone arts classes in support of Vermont granite companies.

Additionally, in 2021, the Delegation secured new NBRC funding to support efforts to strengthen rural health care across the region. Bi-State Primary Care Association received $189,892 from the Department of Health and Human Services through NBRC to integrate food access as part of health care in rural Vermont.

Created in the 2008 Farm Bill, championed by Leahy, the senator with the most seniority on the Agriculture Committee, 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 awarded funding to 96 projects in Vermont totaling more than $24 million.