On August 19, 2020

$3 million awarded to 27 Vt. towns

Bridgewater, Poultney, Proctor, Quechee and Rochester among them

Governor Phil Scott announced Aug. 13 the recipients of $3.2 million in downtown and village center tax credits to support 30 projects in 27 Vermont communities.

“I’m proud to see Vermont’s continued commitment to investing in their downtowns during these uncertain times – it is a testament to our sense of community and entrepreneurship, and I’m pleased the state can support this work through this program,” said Governor Scott. “As we continue to weather the devastating economic impacts of this global pandemic and rebuild our economy, the downtown and village center tax credits will help local communities put themselves in the best position to thrive into the future.”

The tax credits will support over $160 million in downtown, village center and rehabilitation projects. This includes over $500,000 to support redevelopment of two properties in downtown Springfield: a former manufacturing facility that will be converted into multi-family housing, and the former Park Street School, which will be redeveloped into a multi-use facility with space for a business accelerator with co-working and private commercial space, studio apartments, and community use of the former gymnasium and 800-seat theater.

“The pandemic has required everyone to step back and rethink what they do,” said Housing and Community Development Commissioner Josh Hanford. “It’s extremely inspiring for me to see that Main Street building owners have decided there has never been a better time to make the place they call home even better for their residents, businesses and visitors.”

In Bellows Falls, a former parking garage will be converted into mixed-income workforce housing and in Rochester, the tax credits will support a new lodging business with both overnight accommodations and day-rate space for cross-country hikers and bikers. Other funded projects include conversion of the former Bridgewater School into a community center and childcare center, adaptive re-use of the former Skinner Library in Manchester, rehabilitation of the East Calais General Store, code improvements at the Craftsbury General Store and installation of a sprinkler system at the Lantern Inn in Montgomery.

Here’s a closer look at the projects selected in Rutland and Windsor counties:

Bridgewater

In 2015, the historic Bridgewater Village School (7313 Route 4) was closed due to consolidation. Two years later, a group of community members formed a committee to adapt the building for use as a community and childcare center. State tax credits will support work to install a new sprinkler system, a three-stop lift, and complete façade repairs. In addition to the childcare center, the building will provide space for community mobility and exercise classes, social and artistic events, and rentable commercial space.

The total project cost is $1,151,032. The tax credits award is $115,677.

Poultney

This iconic train depot (66 Depot Street), constructed in 1868, has been vacant for at least 10 years and has suffered from vandalism. The new owners plan to renovate the building, bringing a new business to the downtown and creating new jobs. State façade and code tax credits will support this redevelopment.

The total project cost is $82,535. The tax credits award is $18,468.

Proctor

Until 2007, Proctor was home to the Vermont Marble Company and its successor, OMYA. When OMYA headquarters relocated, the town lost hundreds of high-paying jobs. With state support, the town developed the Proctor Prosperity Plan to strategize for the future of the community. The Vermont Marble Museum (52 Main St.), with over 50,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space, is a critical piece of the plan. State tax credits will support code-related upgrades, making marketable space for future tenants including a small brewery that will occupy the former café.

The total project cost is $15,000. The tax credits award is $7,500.

Quechee

An elaborate mid-19th-century house (at 1792 Quechee Main Street) was constructed by J.C. Parker in 1857, and more recently was used as a bed and breakfast. It was purchased by new owners in January 2020 with the intention of reopening it as a restaurant. The building is ideal for dining in post-pandemic times, with a porch and lawn offering views of the Ottauquechee River. State tax credits will support façade repairs and restoration work to complement the outdoor dining experience. The restaurant will provide eight to10 jobs for casual dining and private events.

The total project cost is $145,000. The tax credit award is $25,000.

Rochester

Since 2014, efforts have been ongoing to transform the building at 147 North Main St. into a lodge with 13 bedrooms that can accommodate up to 25 guests. State tax credits will support the renovation, providing a new sprinkler and fire alarm system, electrical and ADA upgrades, and exterior façade repairs. In addition to lodging rooms, the ground floor will act as a maker space and the basement common area will be renovated for cross-country hikers and bikers who will be able to stop, repack and shower for a day rate. This will create an affordable base for people to launch their exploration of the area’s many recreational assets.

The total project cost is $289,738. The tax credit award is $98,177.

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