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August 24, 2015

Start Your Own Business Workshop in Springfield on 9/10/15

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:54 pm

Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) is offering a four-hour workshop on how to start your own business and write a business plan.  The course will be offered on Thursday, September 10th from 9:00 am. to 1:00 p.m. at the Springfield Regional Development Corporation, 14 Clinton Square, in the 1st floor conference room.

Starting Your Own Business is conducted by experienced business advisors and designed as a step-by-step guide for starting a business in Vermont for the first-time business owner:

  • Evaluate whether there is a viable business in your good idea
  • Identify your target customers and explore how to conduct market research
  • Learn how to register your company, apply for tax numbers and protect your brand
  • Prepare to write an effective business plan
  • Find out about financing options and learn what a credible loan package looks like
  • Receive access to the online workshops to increase your knowledge in money, marketing and management (at your convenience) valued at over $150.00

By the end of this workshop you will be well-informed about the resources available to you and the steps involved in launching a successful business. Space is limited. To register for the workshop sign up online at www.vtsbdc.org (click on the training tab). For registration questions, please email Heather Gonyaw at hgonyaw@vtsbdc.org.  The registration fee is $99.00.  Your payment includes a start-up workbook in hardcopy and pdf format.

Vermont Small Business Development Center is a non-profit partnership of government, education and business, organized to help Vermont small businesses succeed. No-cost, confidential advice is provided to existing business owners and new entrepreneurs throughout the state.  The local VTSBDC office is part of Springfield Regional Development Corporation’s office at 14 Clinton Street, in Springfield, Vermont. For more information visit www.vtsbdc.org or contact Debra Boudrieau at (802) 885-2071 or dboudrieau@vtsbdc.org.

August 7, 2015

Vermont Receives over $2 million EPA Brownfields Funding and Announces State BERA Program winners

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 10:08 pm

SRDC officially received a $200,000 grant award from EPA for the former Bryant Grinder site and was also announced as one of three entrants into the State of Vermont’s “BERA” program for the J & L Plant 1 property, at an event in Brattleboro Vermont this week.  Here’s the official press release:

EPA is awarding a total of $2 million in Brownfield Assessment and Cleanup Grant dollars to municipalities and organizations across the state of Vermont.  Additionally, three communities have been selected by the State of Vermont for inclusion in the Brownfield Economic Revitalization Alliance (BERA) program.

The EPA Brownfields grants, funded by EPA’s Brownfields Assessment, and Cleanup grant program, provide communities with funding necessary to assess, clean up and ultimately redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment.

“EPA is proud to further assist Vermont and its citizens with this Brownfield funding. Cleaning and revitalizing contaminated sites helps create jobs, and can be the catalyst to create new businesses or village centers, all while making our environment cleaner and the community healthier,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA New England’s office. “This is just one way EPA works to make a difference in communities all across New England.”

Vermont’s BERA initiative is a collaboration of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Natural Resources, and Agency of Transportation to get brownfield redevelopment projects completed faster, cheaper and easier and to enable communities that host these properties to take full advantage of the benefits of a revitalized downtown center. This is achieved by facilitating better communication between federal, state, regional and local officials, providing priority funding from state programs, and access to coordinated and timely permitting.

“I congratulate the communities of Bellows Falls, Springfield and Richmond for submitting successful applications to participate in the Brownfield Economic Revitalization Alliance program,” noted Governor Peter Shumlin. “Given Vermont’s deep and commonly held understanding of the close relationship between our economic vitality and our environmental health, the BERA program is a model of the collaboration necessary to tackle the complex work of redeveloping contaminated sites. Each of these projects represent an exciting opportunity to improve the lives of Vermont residents and the resilience and livability of our communities. “

EPA Brownfields Grants

Town of Brattleboro:  $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant
Lamoille County Planning Commission:  $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant
Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission:  $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant
Northwest Regional Planning Commission:  $200,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant
Springfield Regional Development Corporation:  $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup Grant
Two-Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission:  $400,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant

In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 334 assessment grants totaling $97 million, 68 revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding totaling $85.2 million and 241 cleanup grants totaling $64.5 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $2.5 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for nearly 14,458 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment. These investments and jobs target local, under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed.

State of Vermont BERA

Robertson Paper Mill:
A former Paper Mill, located in Bellows Falls, that was constructed at the turn of the century and has been underutilized for many years will be redeveloped for new industrial space.  Rockingham Area Development Corporation is the developer of this property that has environmental contamination from past industrial use.  This is a great project to kick-start the Bellows Falls “Island” redevelopment.

Jones and Lamson:
This former tooling facility was one of many that helped create the Pioneer Valley.   The Jones and Lamson building has been vacant for over 30 years and has fallen into disrepair.  On top of the structural building issues the past uses of this property have left behind a mix of environmental contamination that needs to be remediated.  Springfield Regional Development Corporation is the developer of this project and has a planned use for new industrial/commercial space.  This project is part of the northern gateway in Springfield and a key piece of Springfield history.

Richmond Creamery:
The former Saputo creamery in Richmond has been left vacant and abandoned for many years.  The creamery is located in downtown Richmond and is a perfect location for infill.  The project needs are large due to asbestos within the dilapidated building and widespread impacts to surficial soils.  The developer for the project is looking to create mixed space development that will include housing, commercial and a senior center.

More Information:

EPA Brownfields program in New England: http://epa.gov/region1/brownfields/index.html
State of Vermont BERA program: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/wastediv/SMS/RCPP/BERA.htm

July 9, 2015

The Circle of Prosperity

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:41 pm

(the following is a column from SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint, from the Summer 2015 SRDC Newsletter)

Welcome to summer! SRDC is busy on a number of fronts, with remediation work going on as of this writing at J & L (with more behind the scenes efforts underway to set the stage for major demolition and cleanup next summer) and planning for reuse of the north and south ends of the Bryants property.But we’re also spending a lot of time on issues related to creating and maintaining a successful economy.

Elsewhere in this newsletter, you can read about the work of the East Central Vermont Economic Development District. We hope to be undertaking an update of the strategic plan for this region in the next year. The existing regional plan is based on a tenet of the “Circle of Prosperity”, which is simply the interrelationship between good paying jobs, a healthy social infrastructure which attracts and retains the human capital needed to create and fill the good paying jobs (and fund the healthy infrastructure). We know how fragile that “circle” currently is in our area. The common thread from businesses now is how difficult it is to hire people, at all levels. Yet, there is a significant part of the population who is unemployed and, in some circles, “unemployable”.

How do we have the honest conversations about why is it is so challenging to attract people to move to this area, and stay in our communities?   What are the connecting pieces between the realities of substance abuse and social issues with the ability to train and grow a local workforce? How does education fit into this picture, with the perceived disconnect between the local economy and primary/secondary schools?

As we solve the riddles that has been holding back redevelopment of major industrial space, we need to look at the types of businesses those properties will house. But we also need to maintain, and increase, our focus on the workforce that our area economy needs to be able to move forward.  We can’t let the “Circle of Prosperity” become its own Gordian knot for Southern Windsor County or even Vermont

May 28, 2015

SRDC Receives $200K EPA Grant for Bryants Property

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:05 pm

Springfield Regional Development Corporation (SRDC) announced today that they have been selected for a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.  The funding will be used for environmental cleanup work at the former Bryant Grinder facility on Clinton Street in Springfield.

SRDC was selected as one of 243 recipients nationwide of funds to assist with the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield properties.   The EPA announced grants totaling $54.3 million for projects in 147 communities across the country.

Bob Flint, Executive Director of SRDC, said that the timing for the grant was very fortuitous.  “We’re already moving forward with the development of a Corrective Action Plan for the north and south ends of the existing building and this will allow us to move directly into cleanup work later this year”, Flint said. He added that SRDC hopes to have those portions of the site available for occupancy within the next 12 – 14 months.

“Slowly, but surely, we’re making progress with these large, complicated, brownfield projects. We are very grateful for this grant and this will be a big part of moving Bryants forward”, Flint added. He also expressed his thanks to Dan Potter of the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission who assisted in preparing the application to EPA for this grant.

May 27, 2015

START YOUR OWN BUSINESS WORKSHOP TO BE HELD IN SPRINGFIELD

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 3:13 pm

The Vermont Small Business Development Center (VStBDC) is offering a  four hour workshop on how to start your own business and write a business plan.  Debra Boudrieau, a business advisor  for the VtSBDC will run the course. The course will be offered on Thursday, June 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Springfield Regional Development Corporation, 14 Clinton Street in the 1st floor conference room.  Space is limited.  To register, sign up online at www.vtsbdc.org (click on the training tab).  Any questions please email Heather Gonyaw at hgonyaw@vtsbdc.org. or contact Debra at dboudrieau@vtsbdc.org.  The registration fee is $99.00.  Your payment includes a start-up workbook in hardcopy and pdf format.

May 6, 2015

SRDC Awarded Two Grants to Support Local Economic Projects

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 4:26 pm

Springfield Regional Development Corporation announced today that they are the recipient of two $15,000 grants to support a pair of economic development projects in the region.  The awards were part of the Regional Economic Development Grant Program, administered by the Department of Buildings and General Services. The goal of the program is promote stimulation or retention economic opportunities in the state.

The grants that SRDC received will support two business projects in the region.  The first is to assist with the Vermont Beer Shapers space at One Hundred River Street.  A local group has purchased the business assets of the former Trout River Brewery and is constructing a local brewing operation.  The other grant will help Drew’s LLC in Chester install a membrane bioreactor filtration system for the wastewater needs at their facility.

SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint said that the grants would be an important part of projects for job creation and retention.  “We appreciate the support from the state for these projects. In one instance, it’s a key part of setting up a new business.  The other grant will help to solve a long-standing challenge for an important company in our region”, Flint said.

SRDC serves the ten towns in Southern Windsor County. To learn more about Springfield Regional Development Corporation and how it can help existing companies as well as those looking to start a business, call 802-885-3061 or email bobf@springfielddevelopment.org.

May 3, 2015

Financing Forum Coming Up on May 19th in Springfield

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 8:05 pm

Members from the private and government sector are hosting a public forum about financing for local small businesses owners from 9 to 10:30 a.m. May 19th at Springfield Town Hall.

“If you are looking to start or grow a business, this is a rare opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about a wide variety of financing options from subject matter experts,” said Vallerie Morse, Small Business Administration. “Topics will include government guarantees, refinancing, revolving lines of credit, microloans and more.”

Speakers will include representatives from U.S. Small Business Administration, USDA Rural Development, Community Capital of Vermont, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Vermont Economic Development Authority and Vermont Small Business Development Center. The panel members will explain how they have assisted small businesses in the region and how their respective loan programs work.

Attendees can meet with representatives one-on-one following the meeting.

The financing forum is cosponsored by Springfield On The Move, Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce and Springfield Regional Development Corporation, with assistance from the SBA.  The event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.  It will be held in the Selectmens’ meeting room at Springfield Town Hall at 96 Main Street in Springfield.

To register, contact Springfield On The Move at 802-885-1527 or som@vermontel.net

March 26, 2015

Setting Up A New Canvas

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 10:29 pm

(This column, by SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint, appears in the SRDC Spring Newsletter)

“All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain”

-       Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”

One can’t help but have some gallows humor when you consider the experience that SRDC has had with its ownership of the former J & L Plant 1.   We have now owned the property for 12 years (after a long period of trying to pry it from the hands of the Goldman Group) and it looks pretty much the same as it did in 2003, except for the crumbling bricks and rapidly deteriorating roof.

We have had struggles.  The contamination on the property is unique, in its magnitude and complexity.  The assessment process seemingly took forever with the sheer amount of work and the associated bureaucracy with every, single, step.  The conversations with public officials about the historic importance of the site were, at times, maddening and disconnected.

Then there was litigation to throw into the gumbo.  While we made progress on the above items, ultimately, we have been stymied for the past several years by litigation tied to an enforcement action against a neighboring property owner that is related to one of the contaminants that has migrated onto the J & L property.  That ended at the end of 2014 with a ruling from the State Environmental Court.

I look around carefully, up and down, before I say this, but it would appear there are no further barriers to moving forward with the cleanup and redevelopment of the J & L Plant 1 property.  Once you realize this, it’s actually very exciting!

In the coming months, you’ll hear about various grants and applications, bid documents and an “enterprise zone” designation.  Puzzle pieces that have been gathered over the years and hoarded away, waiting for this moment.  I’m not going to speculate on a timeline, but we are moving full steam ahead, finally.

Because, at the end of the day, we not only have a mission to accomplish, but there is a wonderful opportunity in front of us.  We will have 12 acres of flat land, with full utilities (and VTel fiber!) on a 4-lane highway, close to I-91.   Combined with the redevelopment of the former Bryants property (there will be work on the north and south ends this year), it presents a blank canvas for the economic future of Springfield and the region.

We will keep the membership, and public, updated as we move forward. It’s going to be an adventure, but one that I know will ultimately have a happy ending. Stay tuned, and many thanks for the support, as always!

February 27, 2015

Financing Workshop Announced By SRDC & VtSBDC

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 9:33 pm

Representatives from Peoples United Bank, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Vermont SBA, Vermont Economic Development Authority, and Springfield Regional Development Corporation will participate in a three-hour workshop and panel discussion to help small businesses develop a better understanding of best practices and resources for financing a business in Vermont.
As part of the Economic Development Agency’s support for continued recovery from the 2011 flooding disasters, this workshop is offered jointly by Springfield Regional Development Corporation (SRDC) and the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC). The three-hour workshop is free by registration and begins at 9:00 am on Friday, March 20, at the NewsBank Conference Center on Main Street in Chester.

“To grow and thrive in today’s competitive economy, small businesses need to understand how to manage their money and develop solid financing relationships,” says Bob Flint, SRDC Executive Director.

Attendees can expect to learn how to address their financing needs by:
• understanding how to determine the mix of equity and capital that’s right for their situation
• learning about what sources of capital are available to them
• knowing how to put together a winning application to present to lenders
Small business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs can register online:

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Or go to this address:
https://vtsbdc.centerdynamics.com/workshop.aspx?ekey=30350007

February 2, 2015

The Search for a Good Exit: Ownership Succession Planning Workshop on 3/5 in Springfield

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 8:40 pm

An introduction to business ownership succession planning will be offered on Thursday, March 5 from 2:00 to 5:00 PM at the Howard Dean Education Center, 307 South Street in Springfield.  There is no cost for this event.  Attendees will receive a copy of “An Owner’s Guide to Business Succession Planning.”

In this seminar, you will learn the basics of how to choose a path for ownership succession in your business.  We will take a close look at four different ways of selling a business: to an outsider, to family members, to managers or to the larger group of employees.  While we will get into some technical details, the focus will be on stories about each path, told via video by owners who have been involved in the sale of Vermont businesses.  Our lead presenter will be Jeffrey Graham, owner and managing officer of Graham & Graham, P.C., a full service accounting and consulting firm with offices located in Springfield and Barre, Vermont, and Laconia and Concord, New Hampshire.

Attendance is limited to business owners and key managers.

Sponsors of the event are the Springfield Regional Development Corporation, the Vermont Small Business Development Center, the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center and the Vermont Employee Ownership Center, with funding provided by Northfield Savings Bank and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

To register, please click here.

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