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- Shumlin, key lawmakers support $500,000 for program to strengthen Vermont’s downtowns
Sat, Nov 23, 2013 09:32 AM
On Nov. 6, Gov. Peter Shumlin, joined by key lawmakers, supporters
of Vermont's downtown tax credit program and others, outlined a
proposal to provide an additional $500,000 annually to strengthen
city and town centers, while restricting until 2020 some of the
big-box retail development that can sap the economic vitality of
Under the plan, lawmakers will be asked to approve a 30 percent
increase in the $1.7 million Downtown and Village Tax Credit
program, which supports historic renovation, housing, job creation
and other qualifying efforts to strengthen the economic vitality of
the 24 Designated Downtowns and 107 Villages in the program. That
money was used in 2013 for 21 projects and leveraged over $22
million worth of construction activity.
The $500,000 proposed would enable the program to fund another five
or six projects per year, or $7.5 million more in investment in our
downtowns and village centers annually.
The Administration's commitment to seek this downtown funding
helped facilitate an agreement between the Preservation Trust of
Vermont, Vermont Natural Resources Council and Wal-Mart developer
Jeff Davis. The Preservation Trust and VNRC have agreed to drop
their opposition to a proposed Wal-Mart project in the Northeast
Kingdom, clearing the way for Davis to construct the store in the
Newport-Derby area and bring affordable shopping to an underserved
area of the state.
In exchange, Davis has agreed to halt any similar projects in
Vermont through 2020. He will also contribute $200,000, through the
Preservation Trust, to help support Orleans County communities.
That is in addition to the $600,000 mitigation funds already
earmarked to Newport to help the region prepare and adapt to the
arrival of a Wal-Mart outside the downtown area.
"The primary goal of this package is to ensure Vermont's downtowns
and villages are strong, vibrant places to work, play and live,"
Gov. Shumlin said.
"The Wal-Mart moratorium gives downtowns time to plan for any
future big-box development coming down the pike," Gov. Shumlin
said. He said St. Albans, for example, was able to strengthen its
downtown in advance of the arrival this fall of a nearby Wal-Mart,
hopefully mitigating any significant negative impacts from the
nearby big-box store.