BRATTLEBORO -- Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies has released a list of 52 projects to be included in its federally recognized comprehensive economic development strategy. The completed CEDS will be released for public comment on Dec. 5 at Marlboro College's Ragel Hall.
The 52 projects were submitted by a variety of entities and individuals throughout Southeastern Vermont.
"This reflects the diversity of activities underway in our region," stated SeVEDS board chair Jenna Pugliese. "It's been terrific seeing so many respond to the request for projects with such enthusiasm."
CEDS are designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic roadmap to diversify and strengthen the regional economy. The Windham region CEDS will analyze the regional economy and serve as a guide for establishing regional goals and objectives, developing and implementing a regional plan of action, and identifying investment priorities and funding sources.
A CEDS must include a section listing all suggested projects and the projected numbers of jobs created. The CEDS will also contain a section identifying and prioritizing vital projects, programs and activities that address the region's greatest needs or that will best enhance the region's competitiveness.
While inclusion of a project in no way guarantees funding of any sort, many federal agencies look more favorably upon projects which have the kind of broad support inclusion in a region CEDS indicates. EDA often requires a CEDS be in place for a region in order for a project grant application to be considered.
The CEDS process requires that all projects submitted should be acknowledged in the CEDS. Therefore all submitted projects will be included in the CEDS. However, certain projects have been identified and selected as vital projects. The purpose of the list is to publically acknowledge the top actions that will result in the most significant progress towards the Windham region's economic development goals.
A project selection committee comprised of a small group of individuals that represent the region and are firmly established in their field of expertise were chosen by SeVEDS to review, score and rank the 52 projects submissions received. This committee was made up of Stratton Resort General Manager Sky Foulkes, Strolling of the Heifers Executive Director Orly Munzing, ROV Technologies CFO Jill Zachary, Landmark College Senior Vice President Brent Betit and Sonnax Industries CEO Tommy Harmon.
Projects include a job board for employers in Windham and Bennington Counties; building a more sustainable childcare system; extending electric water and sewer to new industrial sites off of Exit 1 in Brattleboro; purchasing for renovation 10 vacant buildings in downtown Wilmington; creating a machine apprenticeship program; creation of the New England Youth Theater's downtown arts campus; the creation of the Southeastern Vermont Food and Agricultural Information Center at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden; fostering the West River Community Kitchen and Food Storage Initiative; upgrades to facilities at Stratton Mountain; an Arts, Ag and Healing Summit; converting a three-screen movie theater in Dover into a multi-artistic use center; and the re-use of Melrose Terrace in West Brattleboro as workforce housing.
Documents outlining the full project ranking process and scoring criteria can be found at www.seveds.com.