BRATTLEBORO -- The Windham County Economic Development Program is up and running and looking for applications with creative ideas that will help Windham County grow jobs and bolster the region's economy.
On July 28, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development released a Notice of Funding Availability and the application for the first round of the funding made available by an agreement between the state of Vermont and Entergy.
The funds will be distributed to projects that benefit Windham County. Eligible applicants for the grant program include municipalities, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. Applications from businesses will be considered for financing via the Vermont Economic Development Authority, which has the capacity, existing infrastructure, and skills to develop lending and alternative financing programs. Flexible financing options are available and repayments will remain in a revolving fund for Windham County in perpetuity.
Following Entergy's announcement in August 2013 that it would be closing Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon at the end of 2014, the state and Entergy negotiated a deal in which $10 million over five years will be made available by Entergy for economic development in Windham County. The first $2 million was delivered by Entergy several months ago.
The Windham County Economic Development Fund will be administered by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development over the five year period through the Windham County Economic Development Program.
"The Agency has worked hard to create an application process that is fair, equitable and transparent," said Secretary Patricia Moulton. "At the same time, we need to ensure that the projects that are funded will have the maximum impact in the region to create sustainable, structural changes in the Windham County economy."
The first round of applications are due by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 23. ACCD and regional partners will schedule application workshops in the region for prospective applicants. Specific dates and locations of those workshops will be posted on the GoWindham.Vermont.gov web site.
Applications will be scored using criteria that will ensure the funding is focused on projects that create jobs, promote economic development in Windham County and meet the goals and objectives of the region's comprehensive economic development strategy. Scoring and review will be followed by prioritization and funding allocation by the Vermont Economic Progress Council, who will provide a recommendation to Gov. Shumlin. The first round of grants and loans will be announced by the Governor in early December.
For more information and application documents, go to GoWindham.Vermont.Gov.