The Windham Regional Commission and the Bennington County Regional Commission will receive $470,000 in Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds to bolster long-term recovery efforts in southern Vermont following Tropical Storm Irene, Vermont’s congressional delegation announced on Tuesday.
The funds will be used by the regional planning commissions to expand the capacity of public officials and economic development organizations to work with businesses and encourage innovative public/private approaches to promote job creation, support economic diversification, and foster disaster resiliency.
Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch fought to include the special one-time EDA disaster funding in last year’s disaster recovery bill, and then advocated for funding for the Windham Regional Commission and the Bennington County Regional Commission in a letter sent to the EDA Regional Director in June 2012.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: “This infusion of funding will speed the recovery of many southern Vermont communities still working hard to recover from Irene. Vermonters continue to pull together as neighbors and friends to support one another, but there are still many unmet needs. This investment will boost recovery efforts and strengthen the region’s long-term economic recovery as we rebound from the damage.”
“Many of our towns have been dealing with public infrastructure recovery and haven’t had the time or resources to focus on long term development and resiliency planning,” said Susan McMahon, Associate Director of the Windham Regional Commission. “These funds are critical and timely to help our historic downtown and village centers recover and thrive.”
William Colvin, Director of Sustainable Community Development for the Bennington County Regional Commission, said that this project “represents a true regional collaboration, as a number of community development, economic development, planning and not-for-profit entities across Windham and Bennington Counties come together to assist those still struggling to recover economically from Tropical Storm Irene.”
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