The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development recently recognized the best downtown revitalization projects of 2011 - 2012 at the Vermont Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference in Barre, Vt. The annual conference attracted more than 200 historic preservation and economic development professionals from around the region.
“The results of the Vermont Downtown Program have been impressive and are illustrated by the great projects that were recognized,” Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller said. “These projects improve the lives of Vermonters every day, and would never have happened without the incredible dedication and effort of so many volunteers and staff around the state. Congratulations go to the winners for extraordinary achievement, but congratulations and appreciation go to all the projects for making a major difference in their communities that are shared by all of us when we visit.”
This year’s conference celebrated 15 years of success and highlighted the cultural, economic and social impacts downtowns have on Vermont. In 2012 alone, the state’s 24 Designated Downtowns garnered 98 new businesses, created more than 500 new jobs and resulted in more than $50,000,000 in both public and private investment.
Also at this year’s conference, The Vermont Downtown Program honored seven downtowns that achieved the distinction of becoming Nationally Accredited Main Street Communities. The seven Vermont Nationally Accredited Main Street Communities are Barre, Bennington, Brattleboro, Montpelier, Newport, St. Albans and Waterbury. Each of these communities were evaluated by a 10 point criteria of standards and approved by the National Main Street Center in Washington D.C.
“We are incredibly proud of all our Designated Downtowns,” Noelle MacKay, Commissioner of Housing and Community Development said. “Downtowns are Vermont’s centers of commerce and engines of fiscal activity.”
The Vermont Downtown program is an economic development program targeting Vermont’s historic commercial districts. Staff members provide technical support and training to Vermont communities that have expressed a grass roots commitment to revitalizing their traditional business districts using a comprehensive strategy based on historic preservation and developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The 2013 Downtown and Village Center Awards recipients include:
Downtown Executive Director of the year: Mike Coppinger – Rutland Downtown Partnership
Volunteer of the Year: Jeff Moore – St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce
Best Special Event: Poem City – Montpelier Alive
Best Retail Promotion: The Barre Treasure Dig – The Barre Partnership
Best New Business: The Cornerstone Pub and Restaurant – The Barre Partnership
Best Public Space Improvement: The Johnson Main Street Project – Town of Johnson
Best Building Renovation: Ellis Block/Springfield Theatre – Housing Vermont & Springfield Housing Unlimited
Best Economic Restructuring Story: The Loft Offices, MKF Properties – The Rutland Downtown Partnership
Best Image Campaign: A Taste of Newport – Newport City Renaissance Corporation
Best Public/Private Partnership: The Volunteer Program- Montpelier Alive
Contact: Leanne Tingay, Coordinator Vermont Downtown Program, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Leanne.firstname.lastname@example.org, accd.vermont.gov, 802-522-6117