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For many people, September is getting kids back to school or closing up camp for the winter.  In the planning world, fall is the time to attend a wide variety of conference and workshops and well as preparing grant proposals for planning and implementation.

In this newsletter you will see links to a variety of workshop offerings with topics ranging from Municipal Government Day to a Renewable Energy Conference. For the most part, these conferences are either free or require a minimal cost to attend.
Fall is a great time to get your creative juices flowing by writing a grant for that special planning or implementation project.  Grant applications that are due this Fall include Municipal Planning, Ecosystems Restoration, as well as, the Transportation Alternatives Program.  If you need any help, please contact the us at the SWCRPC and we will try and assist you in developing that award winning proposal.

Lastly, we are always looking for feedback on our newsletter, please comment on what you like, dislike and thoughts on how we can make it better.  Don't hold back, we can take the criticism.
Enjoy the last days of summer.
 
Sincerely,

Thomas Kennedy
Executive Director
East Central Vermont Economic Development (ECVEDD) Update
ECVEDD partners, SWCRPC, Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, Springfield Regional Development Corporation, and Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation, and committee members have been working hard on completing deliverables outlined in the 2014 U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant. The following highlights activity since our last update:
  • Developed a first draft of the updated Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). The CEDS draft is also available on the newly launched site under "News."    Please visit at your convenience and let us know what you think and if you have suggestions.
  • The ECVEDD dashboard has been launched. A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives, consolidated and arranged so the data can be monitored at a glance. You can review it at ECVEDD.org.
  • Held the "Local Food Systems' Impact on the Regional Economy" workshop on May 21, 2015 at the Billings Farm & Museum Theatre. The session was recorded, and is available at the site.
  • The ECVEDD partners met to discuss actions from the new CEDS that each would like to move forward in 2016. An application has been submitted to EDA requesting partial funding.
The next full board meeting has been set for September 23, 2015 at the Hartford Town Office from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm. These meetings are open to the public.
Emergency Management
Join federal, state and regional partners for a free, hands-on small business continuity workshop exclusively for Vermont small business owners on Thursday, September 10th from 9 am to 2 pm. Registration starts at 8:30am at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center. Nearly 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and national and local experts will be on hand to help you develop a plan to assure your business weathers the next storm or disaster. Space is limited and online  pre-registration
is required.
New LEOP Annex-Animal Planning Element
A new appendix has been added to the Local Emergency Operations Plan template - B7 Animal Resources.  This element is meant to encourage consideration and planning for animals in municipalities during a disaster by determining such things as where they can shelter, who can offer emergency veterinary care, and where there are animals at high risk during disasters.

Vermont has the largest per capita rate of pet ownership in the country, with 71% of households claiming to have pets, so it's likely that pet owners and animal-related business owners will turn to their local emergency managers for assistance during times of crisis.  Having the information on this form pre-determined and available during a disaster will enable these local emergency managers to answer questions, give direction and make connections quickly and easily. Like all LEOP appendices this is optional (not a requirement for compliance), but it is a good resource. More information and assistance will be provided during the 2016 LEOP update cycle.  

This template has been added to the DEMHS website.  Click here to view it.
Public Safety Broadband Network
The Department of Public Safety has received a planning grant with the purpose of preparing for FirstNet. The FirstNet vision is to provide emergency responders with the first nationwide, high-speed, wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. Vermont's planning and outreach efforts have begun and are focused on working with first responders to gather feedback about unique communications challenges, coverage and capacity needs, and user requirements. Participation from Vermont's first responder community will provide the critical inputs needed for Vermont's participation in the national Public Safety Broadband Network. To make sure your public safety entity is accounted for, please fill out this survey by 9/30.
Natural Resources
SWCRPC and Partners Awarded $50,000 from High Meadows Fund
The High Meadows Fund awarded $50,000 to prioritize and begin implementing bank stabilization and floodplain projects recommended by a recent stream assessment of the Mill Brook watershed.   The purpose of this High Meadows Fund grant is to build resilience in Vermont watersheds.  This project will also involve setting up workshops at the teacher-training institute located in the American Precision Museum and utilizing a stream table to demonstrate stream dynamics at local events and civic meetings. The project involves a partnership between the SWCRPC, Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District, American Precision Museum, other partners, and the towns of Reading, West Windsor and Windsor.  Click here for more details.
Transportation News
Municipal Roads General Permit
Based on recent legislation adopted to protect Vermont's surface waters (H.35/Act
64), ANR is starting to develop a general permit that will be applicable to all municipal roads. Under the new general permit, municipalities will need to bring their roads and drainage systems up to standards designed to protect water quality. The regulation will go into effect before January 2018, with all municipalities required to sign up no later than 2021.  The general permit will require implementation of practices designed to reduce erosion from roads and drainage systems that discharge to surface waters. The Stormwater Program is in the early stages of planning for this permit. A stakeholder process to solicit input from municipalities, especially their roads professionals, is planned for next year. For more information, see page two of VLCT's August 2015 newsletter.
Transportation Construction Updates
This is a busy year for transportation!  The following major construction projects have been started in the last few months and most are in the design stage:
  • Charlestown-Springfield Bridge Rehabilitation
  • Hartness Airport Safety Improvements
  • Cornish-Windsor Bridge Scour Protection
  • Rockingham I-91 bridge over the West River (just north of exit 6)
The following major projects have been worked on this summer and near completion:
  • Springfield Park and Ride Lot Reconstruction
  • Andover VT-11 Bridge Replacement
  • Chester Class 1 Town Highway Paving
The list above doesn't include the smaller projects such as sidewalks, District paving, culvert replacements or railroads.  The current year construction schedule on our home page and future year construction list can be found on our transportation page.   Major updates about closures/ traffic impacts are also posted on our Facebook page.
Transportation Funding Sources
In an effort to help towns to navigate the wide range of transportation-related grants available, we have collated a quick reference guide to the major funding sources relevant for our towns.  Visit here to download the summary.
Funding Opportunities - Grants & Loans
Transportation Alternatives Program
Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, turnouts and overlooks, and environmental mitigation activities such as stormwater management and reducing roadway wildlife mortality.
Application Deadline: October 16, 2015

Municipal Planning Grants
This program can fund a variety of local planning projects.  Statewide priorities for the program this year include town plan updates that address inconsistencies with state planning goals or regional plan, bylaw updates that correct conflicts with the town plan and/or implement flood resilience recommendations, and special projects for state-designated downtowns and village centers.  
Application Deadline: September 30, 2015

Ecosystem Restoration Grant
This program funds a variety of projects that reduce surface water pollution from phosphorus and sediment.   The application is anticipated to be released in early September and the application deadline is anticipated to be October 7, 2015.

Strong Communities, Better Connections
The program supports implementation-focused, municipal planning initiatives that coordinate land use decisions and transportation investments; advance the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Livability Principles; and support statewide planning and transportation objectives and goals in the VTrans Strategic Plan and State Planning Goals .
Application process is anticipated to be in late 2015 or early 2016.

Historic Preservation Funding Directory
This program helps municipalities and non-profit organizations rehabilitate and keep in active use the buildings that make up a vital part of Vermont's historic downtowns, villages, and rural communities.
Application Deadline: October 5, 2015

Other ongoing grant opportunities
 
Vermont Community Development Grants
The Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) assists communities on a competitive basis by providing financial and technical assistance to identify and address local needs in the areas of housing, economic development, public facilities, public services, and handicapped accessibility modifications.

USDA Rural Development
A number of funding opportunities are available through the USDA Rural Development office, such as rural business development grants, community facilities loan and grant programs, and water and waste disposal loan and grant program.
For More Details:  http://www.rd.usda.gov/vt

Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA)
Due: No formal application process, projects considered on a first-come, first-served basis
More info: Contact Steve Rohde (603) 229-0679 or e-mail srohde@northernforest.org

The Vermont Farm Fund
Due: Ongoing
Emergency Management
Funding Opportunities
Natural Resources
SW/WC Solid Waste District
Transportation News
Need more detail? 
Try these links below.
Publications
SWCRPC Calendar 
Upcoming Events
9/7 Labor Day - Office closed

9/9 LEPC #3 Meeting
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Newsbank Conference Center, Chester, VT

9/9 State Government Day
Time: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Location: Montpelier, VT

9/10 VT Small Business Planning Worshop
Time: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: VTC, Randolph, VT

9/22 RPC Board Meeting
Time: 12:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m.
Location: Martin Memorial Hall, Ascutney, VT

9/23 TAC Committee Meeting
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: SWCRPC office. Ascutney, VT
State Government Municipal Day
This year's theme is
"When Governments Cooperate" and includes a  full day of workshops, technical assistance and poster presentations brought to you by the Agency of Natural Resources, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Agency of Transportation. Join us on  September   9, 2015  from 8 am - 4:15 pm in Montpelier.  To register go here .
Smart Septic Workshop
Want to know the Do's and Dont's of your septic system?  Maybe you need to know the different types of septic systems available.  These topics and more will be presented at a free workshop on Saturday, September 26, 9 am to noon, at the River Valley Tech Center in Springfield, VT.  A part of the EPA's "Septic Smart" week. Brought to you by the Connecticut River Joint Subcommittee.  Refreshments provided and although not necessary, an rsvp is appreciated.  Click here for more information.
Invasive Species - Plants and Bugs
Do you know what is by your roads and in your fields?  Over the last few years new plants and insects have arrived in Vermont - or are about to.  They can cause significant issues to local eco-systems, some can cause nasty rashes, and most are hard to remove.  Check out this new report by TRORC about the "invasives" we can find around here - and how to minimize how they spread.
Local Transit Company Changes Name
For the last year Connecticut River Transit ("The Current" buses) and Deerfield Valley Transit Association ("MOOver" buses) have been merging into one company.  As of July 1, 2015 the newly merged company is called "Southeast Vermont Transit", SEVT.  Buses and other transportation will continue to be provided under "The Current" and "MOOver" brands.  For more info about the merge see here and for more information about the public transportation routes and options in our region see here.
SW/WC Solid Waste District
Household Hazardous Waste Collection
The Southern Windsor/Windham Counties Solid Waste Management District is sponsoring freeevents for the collection and safe disposal of household hazardous wastes on Saturday, September 12.  Residents and businesses from Andover, Baltimore, Cavendish, Chester, Grafton, Ludlow, Plymouth, Reading, Rockingham, Springfield, Weathersfield, West Windsor, and Windsor, Vermont may participate.  No pre-registration for residents. Businesses must pre-register and will be charged for disposal costs.  The collections will be held at the Springfield Transfer Station from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and at Bellows Falls Union High School 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  Bring in a mercury fever thermometer and receive a new digital fever thermometer. For more information, call 674-9235 or click  here for a list of what to bring. 
Stay Connected
Are you on Front Porch Forum?
The towns of Cavendish, Reading, Weathersfield, West Windsor and Windsor have all joined. The mission of Front Porch Forum is to help neighbors connect and build community. It does that by hosting regional networks of online neighborhood forums. Common sense and a growing body of research tell us that well-connected neighborhoods are friendlier places to live, with less crime, healthier residents, higher property values, and better service from local government and public utilities.
S outhern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission 
PO Box 320
38 Ascutney Park Road
Ascutney, VT 05030
Telephone: 802-674-9201
Fax: 802-674-5711
General Email: info@swcrpc.org