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March 25, 2010

Springfield Lands $110,000 Brownfields Clean-up Grant

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas announced that $110,000 will be granted to the Precision Valley Development Corporation (PVDC) to continue its clean-up activities at the former Fellows Gear Shaper property in Springfield.
“This proposal will help continue with the re-development of a critical downtown property,” said Gov. Douglas. “This will not only help the town’s economy, but will turn a blighted property into clean, safe commercial space, including space for the Springfield Hospital health center.”
These funds are being made available to PVDC from the State’s Brownfield Fund, which will be leveraged with another $80,000 from the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission’s (SWCRPC) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) supplemental funding through the Environmental Protection Agency.
Redevelopment of the site, located in Springfield’s downtown, will result in the reuse of a historic building and provide new office and commercial space. The State of Vermont and SWCRPC are working very closely with the developers of the property, 100 River Street LLC, and the Springfield Regional Development Corporation.
The Environmental Protection Agency has capitalized both the State’s and SWCRPC’s funds through its competitive Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program.
To date, the State has been awarded over $1.5 million for clean-up of brownfield sites; and SWCRPC has been awarded close to $3 million in RLF and assessment funding.
Last year, the state awarded $750,000 to the town for use in installing new safety systems, such as sprinklers and emergency lighting at the Fellows building, located at 100 River Street. In 2008, the State authorized $344,731 worth of tax credits to help refurbish the historic building.
Click here for additional information about the Governor’s Vermont Brownfields Initiative.

March 18, 2010

Welcome, J&L Metrology!

Precision Valley lives! J&L Metrology recently acquired Vermont Precision Machine Services in Springfield—but it’s not new to the area. J&L began as Jones & Lamson Machine Company in 1919. The company has grown, evolved, and changed hands, but continues to reflect the heritage of Precision Valley.

J&L Metrology designs and engineers optical comparators, a product that dates all the way back to the Jones & Lamson roots. The optical comparator was invented here to provide a more precise method for measuring the tiny elements of screw threads.Their diverse products are used in aircraft, electronic, automotive, and machine tool facilities in production operations and quality control labs around the world.

No stranger to optics, this area in southeastern Vermont is also the home of the Springfield Telescope Makers and the annual Stellafane Convention, a gathering of telescope makers and aficionados, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary this summer. It’s still one of the largest amateur telescope makers conventions in the world.

And it all starts here in Southern Windsor County, the corner of Vermont that is home to innovative thinkers, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, and burgeoning businesses.

We like to think that our history of such optical prowess has given us unique vision. I know that we’re living up to our own vision that “Great Things Happen Here”.

March 15, 2010

Solar panels heat the EdgarMay Center’s pool

Thanks to some creative thinking and smart engineering, the members of the EdgarMay Health and Recreation Center enjoy a heated indoor swimming pool all year long—a welcome treat in the midst of a Vermont winter. The facility was designed with solar heating that warms the Center’s lap and children’s pools. On a sunny day, the system captures more than two million BTUs, saving more than 35 gallons of propane fuel.

The 69 solar panels affixed to the Center’s roof spans more than 2,000 square feet represents the largest solar heating system in the state of Vermont, and it’s here in Southern Windsor County. The system saves about $11,000 in heating costs.

In its first phase of development, the EdgarMay Center has 2,100 members. Ultimately, this facility will house three pools, fitness center, basketball courts, indoor playground, climbing wall, teaching kitchen, community center, and much more. As it continues to grow, the Center provides a strong link for the residents of Springfield and the 34 other surrounding towns that are already coming here. It blends the old with the new, resurrecting an old foundry alongside a new structure. It blends such advances as solar technology with the simple joys of recreation. It’s exciting to watch this center flourish, a reflection of the region as well.

The EdgarMay Center is strategically located near the gateway to Springfield on Clinton Street, across the street from the upcoming redevelopment of the former J & L Plant 1 and just down the street from the Robert Jones Industrial Center and the former Bryant Grinder property.

March 12, 2010

Country living, city comforts

I was talking today with an area business owner  about the benefit of living and working in Vermont, in general, and in this region, in particular. He told me that after living in the city (near Boston) and in Burlington, VT, it was a pleasure to be part of a rural area that combines all the advantages of city life with the pleasures of country living.

Burlington, he said, offered that to a degree, but even that area had become too crowded. In Southern Windsor County, a traffic jam amounts to about three cars at a stop light. And that’s livable, he said.

What this urban jungle escapee said was that he saw this region as on the cusp of becoming the place to be. “In a few years, people will be clamoring to find space here. It’s exciting to be part of the change as it happens instead of on the tail end,” he told me.

That’s exactly how I see it. I grew up here and am raising my family here. I know what Southern Windsor County used to be, what it is now, and what it is becoming in the years ahead. Additions like the EdgarMay Health and Recreation Center in Springfield and the forthcoming Springfield Medical Group clinic in the renovated Fellows Gear Building enhance an infrastructure that is already technologically advanced. I have fiber at my office that provides amazing speed in using the Internet and that’s available in much of this area.

Still, we’re able to enjoy the peace of a rural setting, with plenty of open spaces and unspoiled landscapes. It truly is the best of both worlds.

The winds of change are clearly blowing here, and it’s a nice breeze.

March 9, 2010

Lunch hour on the ski slopes

I called a friend of mine today to invite him to lunch but he had plans. He was hitting the slopes at Okemo Mountain Resort, just up the road, to catch a few runs on a sunny day. While many people around here are running errands or working at their desk while wolfing down a sandwich, this brilliant individual is skiing—taking advantage of one the best reasons we live in this region of Vermont. It’s a resort area!

I drive by beautiful lakes, streams and rivers in the summer on my way to work and enjoy the view of tourists canoeing, fishing or kayaking on those waters. And in the fall, the foliage spectacle grabs my attention and reminds me how lucky I am to live in a state that is so rich with opportunities to enjoy life.

When you’ve got a mountain in your own back yard, and it is home to a world class ski resort, you can take it for granted. And you might even ignore the lake views when you’re hurrying to work. But it’s great to know they’re right there when you want to kick back for a day—or even a lunch hour.

March 5, 2010


Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 10:08 am

Hey everyone my name is Melanie Wells and I’m the Office Manager here at Springfield Regional Development Corp. I have been working at SRDC for almost 3 years and I enjoy it very much. I have learned many new things and have been introduced to many people in Springfield and the surrounding area.

Before I came to SRDC, I had never worked in this type of an office.  I didn’t really know much about Economic Development or Springfield for that matter. Since I started  here I have learned more and more everyday and it amazes me. I feel very lucky to be working with such great individuals.

I am a Springfield resident and love the area. It’s a great place to raise my 4 year old son Camden!