Zachary P. Stephens/ReformerWorkers start to clear the mud, water and debris off of Flat Street in Brattleboro.
Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer Workers start to clear the mud, water and debris off of Flat Street in Brattleboro.

BRATTLEBORO -- Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and the Springfield Regional Development Corporation have received an additional $500,000 in funding for a program that has already provided grants to over 30 area businesses struggling from the effects of Tropical Storm Irene.

The two organizations have been utilizing a $1 million Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery, which was awarded to the two Regional Development Corporations by the Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development last year. The first round of grant awards went to businesses, which demonstrated a variety of remaining unmet needs from Irene, including replacing equipment and inventory as well as physical repair and other areas. Businesses received awards from $1,000 up to $50,000, depending on several factors. The recipients are located in Brattleboro, Wilmington, Ludlow, Marlboro, Athens, Chester and other towns throughout Windham and southern Windsor Counties.

"We know flood recovery is a marathon not a sprint," said BDCC Board Chair John Meyer, who was instrumental in the organizations pursuing this funding from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. "There are still a number of small businesses, farms and nonprofits that have not fully recovered despite being open or partially open. These funds are critical to getting them all the way back."

With the additional $500,000 in funding, the RDC's will soon begin another round of workshops and applications in the coming months. Previous applicants are welcome to re-apply and the process may be streamlined for those with applications already in-house.

This supplemental funding is from the $21.7 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds allocated to the state from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development following Tropical Storm Irene. The state is slated to receive an additional $17.9 million and will make more funding available to the RDC's, if needs remain.

Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congressman Peter Welch fought to include $400 million in HUD CDBG disaster funding in the Federal budget. Their efforts ensured that Vermont was one of a handful of states that received an allocation. The Congressional delegation also worked with regional and state officials to include Windham County in the areas of Vermont eligible for this program.

the area's businesses."

Applicants for the remaining funds are still required to meet "unmet disaster recovery needs," including repair of structure, repair or replace equipment, create or retain jobs, interest rate buy downs on private loans, rent subsidies and lost rental revenue. The process is competitive and technical assistance will continue to be provided by BDCC and SRDC staff. More information on workshops and grant applications will soon be available at www.brattleborodevelopment.com or www.springfielddevelopment.org. The session dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information on the CDBG-DR program and an update on the timeframe for supplemental funding business applications please contact: April Harkness, BDCC, 802-257-7731 or Paul Kowalski, SRDC, 802-885-3061.