Economic development is traditionally defined as those efforts to attract and retain employers, help existing businesses expand, and provide public infrastructure, job training, education, and a favorable business climate. Economic Development Planning is different and must take place at the same time and consistent with the planning that TRORC does for all other aspects of community life, including transportation, housing and infrastructure (water and sewer) planning.
TRORC believes that much of our work provides the foundation for business development, retention and expansion. For example, the quality of life in our region is a major draw for businesses and can be sustained through proper planning. Infrastructure, especially transportation networks, is important to business. Our local and regional planning efforts help to make sure that these networks function well. And the redevelopment of Brownfields properties can provide jobs during the clean up and construction phases of the project, ultimately creating new business opportunities and revitalizing communities. TRORC works with Vermont business owners, developers, lenders, and other professionals involved in “environmentally-challenged” real estate transactions, called Brownfields. We provide these professionals with resources to successfully transact and redevelop Brownfields using grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The primary agency for business development, retention and expansion in our region is the Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC). Their staff works closely with new and existing businesses to enable their growth and long-term viability. They are a resource for technical support, workforce needs, funding and financing, permitting, site and building information and other key business needs. GMEDC provides financial information and packaging, Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) technical assistance, land and building site inventories, and assistance in securing state and federal loans. VtSBDC works to strengthen existing business entities and assist start-ups with high-quality, no-cost counseling and affordable training programs.
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) offers programs intended to further sustainable development in Vermont communities. The department houses the Vermont Community Development Program as well as programs to ensure preservation of Vermont’s historic resources including downtowns and village centers. TRORC assists member towns in applying to the Vermont Downtown Program for downtown or village designation, which provides technical assistance and training to communities for their downtown revitalization efforts. While Vermont has no state-wide economic development plan, DHCD provides funding for some of these purposes to the Regional Planning Commissions ensuring that business support and locational decisions occur in areas consistent with state, regional and local land use law.
Tourists contribute significant amount of income to the state and regional economy. No exact numbers exist to show how many people in the Region work specifically in jobs catering to tourist needs; however, if we combine the number of individuals working in entertainment, the arts, recreation, and food services with those working in the retail trade, roughly 21 percent of the Region’s workforce may directly (or tangentially) have a part in the Region’s tourism industry. As such, the tourism industry remains a key component to the Region’s financial success.
Economic Development Links
- East Central Vermont Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Plans
- East Central Vermont Economic Development District
- Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC)
- Vermont 2020 CEDS
- Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC)
- USDA Rural Programs and Services
- Bethel Better Block Video
- Facilitating Economic Development
- Department of Housing and Community Development
- Small Business Resources
Peter Gregory, Executive Director
[email protected] – 802-457-3188 ex. 111