WRC NEWSLETTER                                         SEPTEMBER 2017
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WRC Commissioners
WRC CALENDAR
September 7, 6:00 pm:

September 11, 4:30 pm:
 
September 12, 6:00 pm:

September 13, 2:00 pm:

September 14, 4:30 pm:

September 18, 5:30 pm:

September 19, 5:30 pm:
Local Emergency Planning (LEPC)
Westminster State Police Barracks

September 26, 6:00 pm:

**All Committee Meetings take place in the WRC Conference Room unless otherwise noted.
 
**All meetings are subject to change, please check the website for updates.
UPCOMING GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

National Endowment for the Arts
DEADLINE:  Sept. 18, 2017

New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund
DEADLINE:  Rolling (Seed Grant) 
For more information click here.
 
USDA Rural Development - Community Facility Loans 
& Grants
DEADLINE:  Ongoing (contact USDA office)
For more information click here.
 
Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
DEADLINE:  Rolling
DEADLINE:  October 2, 2017
DEADLINE:  November 6, 2017
DEADLINE:  October 2, 2017

Vermont Agencies of Transportation/Commerce and Community Development
DEADLINE:  January 31, 2018
 
Vermont Community Foundation
DEADLINE:  Rolling
Small and Inspiring
DEADLINE: October 18, 2017
DEADLINE: October 12, 2017
DEADLINE: October 12, 2017
Windham Foundation
DEADLINE: Nov 15, 2017 
For more information . click here
Upcoming Grants will  be a regular column in the  WRC Newsletter, for  a complete 
list please  click here

For additional  information about  grant possibilities  for your projects  please contact Susan at 

Kelsea McAuliffe,  a 2017 graduate of Brattleboro Union High School, started at the Windham Regional Commission on September 6, 2017. Kelsea will be working part-time assisting staff with various projects as a Planning Technician. She is currently going to the Community College of Vermont with plans to attend the University of Connecticut in the fall of 2018. Kelsea lives in Brattleboro and likes to play tennis and take her dog Maddy for walks.
 State Fire Marshal to Present to LEPC-6 with Special Invite to Towns
 
At our next Local Emergency Planning Committee region 6 (LEPC-6) meeting, we will be hosting
Vermont State Fire Marshal, Bruce Martin.  He will be talking with us about needed permits and inspections for certain buildings.  Most renovations or new construction of buildings require a permit through the Division of Fire Safety.  Come learn more about when permits are required, and when they are not.  This meeting will be useful to Zoning Administrators, and ZBA and DRB members to attend and learn about this subject.
 
Date and time:   September 19, 2017 at 5:30pm
Location:   Westminster State Police Barracks, 1330 Westminster Heights Road, Putney VT  05346
 
We hope that you will join us for this event.  We will have pizza, so please RSVP to Alyssa Sabetto by the 19th at 11am if you'd like to attend.
Staying Connected in the Green Mountains to Berkshires Linkage
 
The WRC is co-sponsoring a public meeting about forest blocks and important areas for wildlife habitat connectivity in the region. It will be Tuesday, September 19 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM in the Wilmington Town Office upstairs meeting room, 2 East Main Street, Wilmington. Ecologists and natural resource professionals will share: the latest science on priority areas; land use, management and conservation strategies; and resources that are available to help. This is a collaborative effort with Bennington County Regional Commission, VT Natural Resources Council, and the Staying Connected Initiative.
 
For information, contact John Bennett by email or 257-4547 ext. 110.
Knowledge Bites!
SVEP Webinar Series
2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month at noon

Starting July 2017, the Southern Vermont Economy Project at BDCC will be hosting a bi-monthly quick hit webinar series called "Knowledge Bites," focused on providing introductory information about economic and community development tools, programs, and funding opportunities.  These webinars will be held virtually at 12pm on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. The individual webinars will be 30 minutes long, including 20 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of questions from participants.

For more information please click here.
Windham Wood Heat Program Expansion

The WRC program Windham Wood Heat Initiative has recently expanded to include non-profits as eligible for funding.  The program, founded in 2015 with a team of local experts, provides technical and financial assistance to town, school, and now non-profit owned buildings to convert to modern wood heating systems.  So far, three systems have been completed with five more projects currently being installed.  The program will run through December 2018 allowing for another construction season. The program looks to build the capacity of the local wood industry while addressing the environmental impact of heating within Windham County.  
Windham County Renewable Energy Program Round II Funded

The Windham Regional Commission is pleased to announce that the Clean Energy Development Fund has awarded $300,000 to the WRC to run a second round of the Windham County Renewable Energy Program. This program which released a Request for Proposals during the fall of 2016, is a grant program that supports renewable energy generation projects in Windham County.  The funds for this program are from the settlement between Entergy and the State with the closure of Vermont Yankee.  In the first round of funding, the WRC received 12 applications and awarded funding to 5 projects: three solar installations, a combined heat and power biomass generator, and a feasibility study for an anaerobic digester.  The RFP for the second round of funding is expected to be released to the public this fall.
WRC STAFF
Executive Director

Associate Director

Office Manager

Finance Manager

Senior Planner

Planner

Planner

Senior Planner

Transportation Planner

Planner
I-91 Bridge Ribbon Cutting Celebrates New Gateway to Southeastern Vermont

Thank you to everyone who played a part in making the replacement I-91 bridge over the West River and Route 30 a truly special bridge and a gateway to southeastern Vermont! The WRC helped to communicate to VTrans local concerns that the bridge should be more than just an interstate bridge, and VTrans was very receptive. We organized a public forum to solicit input on the design of the bridge and its character, and VTrans supported the creation of an Aesthetic Evaluation Committee, which participated in the selection of the bridge design and contractors. That committee went on to advise PCL-Figg and VTrans throughout the construction process. Everyone involved was great to work with. It was a beautiful day for the ribbon cutting ceremony for this new bridge that is designed for service of at least 100 years.
Button Up VT Campaign Open for Registration

Community groups are now welcome to sign up to participate in the 2017 Button Up Vermont campaign.  Sign up here.
 
There are a lot of reasons why your community group should participate:
  • Help residents in your community save energy and money
  • Help Vermont reach its goal of 90% renewables by 2050
  • Be part of the effort to help the U.S. meet its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement
Button Up Vermont is a community-based, public outreach campaign to promote home energy efficiency improvements - particularly helping people reduce heating and cooling costs.  Efficiency Vermont, in partnership with a broad group of statewide and regional organizations, is planning to work with at least 25 Vermont communities to engage their residents around thermal efficiency.  The campaign will focus on all Vermonters and is designed to provide opportunities for all individuals to take actions - from simple weather stripping to comprehensive home efficiency improvements. 
 
Efficiency Vermont will provide free LEDs to community partners working at the local level to engage residents in the Button Up Vermont campaign. We will also provide educational materials, media and social media support, and guidance and training to local energy committees. In exchange, energy committees will be asked to commit to implementing at least two community engagement activities of their choosing, such as organizing home energy parties, workshops, or tabling events.  Residents will be asked to commit to undertaking one or more measures to reduce their heating load and then record their actions on Energy Action Network's Community Energy Dashboard. In addition, Efficiency Vermont and partners will place newspaper, digital, and social ads to reach all Vermonters - with the majority of the paid media aimed toward directly supporting participating communities.  
 
Sign up today. Questions?  Community partner registration closes on September 30, 2017.  Please contact Paul Markowitz at Efficiency Vermont at  pmarkowitz@veic.org or 802 540 7608 with questions or more information.
Grants in Aid Pilot Program Funds Water Quality Improvements on Local Roads
 
With the start of road erosion inventories in the Region and state-wide, which document the standards determined by the Municipal Roads General Permit (MRGP), the VT ANR has acknowledged the need for funding assistance to towns to address road erosion that contributes to water quality impairments.
 
The MRGP is intended to achieve significant reductions in storm water-related erosion from municipal roads, both paved and unpaved. Over time, municipalities will implement a customized, multi-year plan to stabilize their road drainage system. This Grants in Aid Pilot Program is a way for towns to begin pro-actively addressing MRGP standards on their hydrologically-connected road segments.
 
Beginning in July 2017, 18 towns in the Windham Region had enrolled in this reimbursement program, and had therefore committed to installing best management practices on selected road segments to reduce sedimentation into our waterways. Through July and August, WRC planners have been conducting site visits with road and highway foreman and other town officials to identify road segments that currently do not meet MRGP standards, and whose improvement would help keep our streams clean and hopefully help maintain the roads in increasingly strong storm events.
 
Overall, the VT ANR has awarded up to $251,200 in reimbursements to enrolled Windham Region towns who will bring identified roads segments up to MRGP standards. These funds will go towards reshaping and stabilizing ditches, establishing filtered sheet flow away from the road, replacing undersized culverts, and establishing filtered and stabilized flow from the right of way and into stream or brooks. Thus far, the WRC along with road foreman have identified about 9.5 linear miles of drainage improvements over the Region, and many other upgrades to culvert infrastructure.
 
As the work season progresses, the WRC looks forward to documenting post-construction conditions on these roads, and confirming MRGP compliance. The before/after photos below show how some of the road foremen have been progressing thus far.
Gallup-Before

Gallup - After
 
For more information about this program, please contact Emily Davis at 257-4547 x 116 or  edavis@windhamregional.org.

Registration for 2017 Vermont Financing Working Landscapes Conference
is now open!
All-day conference will provide resources for farm, food, and forest industry.
 
Registration for the 2017 Vermont Financing Working Landscapes conference is now open.  The event is on Friday, October 20th starting at 9 am at the brand-new Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm in Weston, Vermont. The conference will connect Vermont's entrepreneurs and small businesses in the food, agriculture, and forestry sectors to financial and technical resources and assistance.  Current conference sponsors include USDA Rural Development, Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, Vermont Agriculture Credit Corporation, Yankee Farm Credit, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Community Capital of Vermont and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
 
Secretary Anson Tebbetts of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture has been invited to open the conference.   Attendees will have access to a wide range of capital partners: Vermont Agriculture Credit Corp, Vermont Farm Fund, Yankee Farm Credit, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Community Capital of Vermont, Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, and Farm and Forest Viability Program of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
 
This all-day conference will include a panel discussion and breakout sessions with financial lenders as well as focusing on the question, "What does your business want to be when it grows up?" Afternoon sessions will follow the structure of the business life cycle (development, startup, growth, expansion, succession), providing attendees resources and programs at each level of the cycle.
 
Registration for this event is now open! The conference is  free but you must register to attend . You can register and view agenda (tentative) at   www.brattleborodevelopment.com/2017fwl/
 
BDCC's Southern Vermont Economy Project will host the 2017 event with our Conference Partners: Windham Regional Commission, FoodConnectsStrolling of the Heifers, Bennington County Regional Commission, Bennington County Industrial Corporation
Sponsorship opportunities are still available! Visit www.brattleborodevelopment.com/2017fwl/ for information on both sponsorships and registration.
 
ABOUT: SOUTHERN VERMONT ECONOMY PROJECT
The Southern Vermont Economy Project (SVEP) will stabilize, improve and expand the rural economic and workforce development network in Southern Vermont. SVEP is funded by the USDA Rural Community Development Initiative. Our partners are Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation, Rockingham Arts and Museum Project, Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce, Windham Regional Commission, Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategy, Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, Strolling of the Heifers, Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment Inc., Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, Bennington County Regional Commission, Bennington County Industrial Corporation, Town of Bennington, and the Bennington Downtown Alliance.

For more information please contact Sarah Lang, SVEP Manager, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, (802) 257-7731 x222 or  slang@brattleborodevelopment.com.
Algiers Village Explores Living Community Challenge Master Planning
 
On Wednesday, August 16 th , four community non-profit organizations based in Guilford hosted a community meeting at the Guilford Community Church to start a dialogue about what people envision for the future of Algiers Village. Those organizations are the Friends of Algiers Village, Community Collaborative for Guilford, Guilford Preservation, Inc, and the Guilford Community Church; and they have taken on the role of proactively planning the Village.
 
The four community organizations had applied to the Windham Regional Commission, in partnership with Building Green, to have technical assistance in pursuing a visioning study to determine whether or not the Village would like to take on the Living Community Challenge (LCC). The LCC is a set of criteria that serves as a framework for community planning and organization, and was developed by the International Living Future Institute. The criteria addresses community-scale sustainability through focusing on a sense of place within the environment, water resources, net-zero energy, human health and happiness,  building resources, equity and beauty within the community.
 
Residents and community members who showed up to the planning meeting were asked to be a part of five groups, and were given maps of Algiers Village. They were all began the planning exercise by marking down aspects about their community that they liked and disliked, in an effort to gain local insights into the more subtle aspects of their community and the physical space. Then, residents marked down things they'd like to see in the Village in the future. Some of the ideas discussed were a small business incubator space, conservation areas, pedestrian safety infrastructure, gathering areas by Broad Brook, and play spaces, among many others. Also up for discussion was the role of community services in the Village, and where they could be located.
 
Using the information gleaned during this community meeting, the partnering organizations will dive in deeper to the requirements of the LCC over the upcoming months, and along with the WRC will begin to develop schematic design alternatives for Algiers Village. Based on the turnout of this community meeting, the partners agree that there is strong community interest in this LCC vision plan, and will host more community meetings in the future.
 
For more information contact Emily Davis or Susan McMahon at WRC.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
  
State Seeking Comments on Road Erosion Regulations

The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has posted its public notice that the draft Municipal Roads General Permit (MRGP) is available for review and comment.  The notice and information about the MRGP are available 
here . Comments are due by October 27 th . The MRGP should result in improved water quality as it relates to storm water runoff from roads, as well as roads that are more resistant to erosion.  It will also require that towns make significant investments in these improvements.

Eighteen of the Windham Region's twenty-seven towns took advantage of ANR's Grants-In-Aid program, through which funding has been provided to municipalities to begin implementing practices required by the draft MRGP.  We have also facilitated considerable outreach by ANR to town officials, including road foremen, to explain the basis for the MRGP and its requirements. 

We encourage towns to comment on the draft MRGP to communicate your perspective on what it will take to implement its requirements.  While we recognize you will want to comment on the costs of implementation, we encourage you to also communicate how the requirements either help or hinder your ability to achieve the permit's intended result, which is to reduce and improve storm water runoff and reduce erosion of, and related to, roads to meet water quality standards.  This is especially true for those towns that have already begun to implement permit requirements either through the Grants-In-Aid program or on your own accord as you anticipate the need for MRGP compliance.

The WRC will be submitting comments.  If you'd like to share your comments with us, or would like for us to include your comments with ours, please contact Emily Davis at  edavis@windhamregional.org
Windham Regional Commission 
139 Main Street, Suite 505
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: (802) 257-4547
Fax: (802) 254-6383