Leahy: Vermont’s Village Revitalization Initiative recognized with award

News Release — Sen. Patrick Leahy
Nov. 14, 2014

David Carle (Leahy): 202-224-3693

Paul Bruhn (Preservation Trust of Vermont): 802-658-6647

WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, Nov. 14, 2014) – The Village Revitalization Initiative – a cooperative effort between Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and the Preservation Trust of Vermont – is drawing more national recognition as the recipient of a National Trust for Historic Preservation Richard H. Driehaus Award for the preservation and restoration of Vermont’s historic buildings and communities, in downtowns across the state. The award to the Trust and to Leahy was presented at the annual National Preservation Conference in Savannah, Ga., on Nov. 13.

The award recognizes the partnership between Leahy and the Preservation Trust of Vermont to direct funding through the HUD Economic Development Initiative (EDI) to build stronger and more economically vibrant village centers. Funding secured by Leahy through his work on the Appropriations Committee has been used to rehabilitate historic community buildings located in the heart of a Vermont community center or small downtown. The Village Revitalization Initiative has supported 27 unique projects in 25 communities throughout Vermont, resulting in a total federal investment of $2,435,200. This investment played a crucial role in leveraging nearly $27 million toward total project costs.

Leahy said, “The Village Revitalization Initiative successfully demonstrated how federal, state and local leaders can partner to safeguard some of Vermont’s most important assets – our cherished community structures. Vermonters are committed to finding creative solutions to tough challenges, and I am proud of the work that the Preservation Trust and the other partners have done to ensure a vibrant future for so many communities. I will always be committed to preserving Vermont’s rich legacy and will continue to advocate for support to enhance the infrastructure and livability of our communities.”

Leahy initiated the program in an effort to make federal support more readily available for small scale rehabilitation projects. The successful reconstruction of community-based projects often requires a mix of federal, state and local resources to meet high project costs. As the most senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee Leahy secured funding, which was sub-granted to communities by the Preservation Trust. The grants ranged from $20,000 to $250,000 for revitalization projects that spanned from $50,000 to $7 million in total costs.

The Preservation Trust of Vermont provided hands-on technical assistance, project management and grants management assistance. Preservation Trust Executive Director Paul Bruhn said, “This grant funding has helped to conserve great architecture and inspire many community uses. It has rewarded community commitment and allowed for renewed prosperity in some of Vermont’s smallest towns. Whether opening a shuttered performance hall, rehabilitating a former mill building and providing space for a grocery store, or rebuilding a village store, or developing an active community center, projects helped to increase the vitality and the beauty of their village center.”

The collection of village-scaled historic preservation projects supported by the Initiative includes opera houses, libraries, village stores, a healthcare facility, housing block and community gathering spaces. This success received similar recognition in 2011, when Leahy and the Preservation Trust received the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation.

The projects also serve as job creation engines by creating both short-term and long-term construction opportunities for Vermonters. HUD-EDI investments continue to play a vital role in the successful development of communities.

The locations of the Vermont projects to date and their grants/total costs are:

Addison County
Salisbury – Shard Villa
$100,000/$200,000 total
Ferrisburgh – Grange/Town Hall
$100,000/$2.5 million

Bennington County
Readsboro – Bullock Block
$100,000/$200,000 first phase

Caledonia County
Hardwick – Jeudevine Memorial Library
$50,000/$200,000 total
– Memorial Hall
$20,000/$40,000 total
– Town House
Groton – Village Store and Library
$54,900/$3.5 million total

Chittenden County
Richmond – Round Church fire suppressions system
$25,000/$215,000 in this phase
Essex County
Bloomfield – Town Hall
$70,000/$75,000 this phase/$200,000 total
Brighton – Town Hall/Opera House
$60,000/$500,000 total

Franklin County
Richford – Sweat Comings Health Care Center
$100,000/$7 million total

Grand Isle County
North Hero – Community Center
$100,000/$800,000 total

Orange County
Brookfield – Old Town Hall
$100,000/$400,000 total
Strafford – Town House Bell Tower
Bradford – Public Library
$75,000/$203,000 total
Randolph – Chandler Music Hall
$250,000/$3.5 million total

Rutland County
Brandon – Old Town Hall
$70,000/$900,000 total
Pawlet – Town Hall Auditorium
$75,000/$200,000 this phase
West Rutland – Carving Studio
$75,000/$200,000 total
Sudbury – Meeting House
$75,000/$130,000 phases 5 & 6/$250,000 total
Poultney – Bentley House
$100,000$/$220,000 total

Washington County
Worcester – Town Hall
$50,000/$162,300 total

Windham County
Rockingham Bellows Falls – Town Hall Theatre
$200,000/$850,000 total
Putney – General Store (Putney Historical Society)
$160,000/$800,000 total
Guilford – Housing and General Store (Friends of Algiers Village)
$65,000/$250,000 first phase

Windsor County
Rochester – Pierce Hall
$100,000/$700,000 this phase
Springfield – Ellis Block
$125,000/$3,401,051 total

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