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March 29, 2011

Governor Shumlin Announces Funding to SRDC for J & L Remediation Project

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 3:36 pm

On Monday, Governor Peter Shumlin announced $575,000 in grant funding to begin the environmental remediation process at the former J & L Plant 1 in Springfield.

The Governor presented the awards, one for $400,000 from the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission and the other, totally $175,000 from the Vermont Agency of Commerce & Community Development, to Bob Flint, Executive Director of Springfield Regional Development Corporation. SRDC purchased the former J & L property in 2002.

The funding will allow work to begin on cleaning up the contamination on the property, specifically the removal of the former chip shed and associated soils behind the building as well as the removal of asbestos from the former office area.

The $575,000 was made available to the State and the SWCRPC through ARRA awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Governor Shumlin lauded the strong partnership between SRDC, the Southern Windsor County RPC, the Agency of Commerce & Community Development and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

“This is great example of how collaboration among local, regional and state entities can be a catalyst for bringing this part of Springfield back to life”, the Governor said.

Flint said, at Monday’s announcement, that the J & L property was a core part of Springfield identity and would now start the path towards becoming part of its future once again.

He indicated that the remediation work would begin this summer and this portion would be completed by year-end.

SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint speaks at the announcement of funding for the J & L Plant 1 project on March 28, 2011. Governor Peter Shumlin is on the right.

The Economy in Southern Windsor County – 2011

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 11:53 am

(SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint wrote this piece, which appeared in the Rutland Herald’s “Business Outlook” section on Monday, March 28, 2011)

When I visit businesses in Southern Windsor County, I’m generally hearing a similar message. “Orders are starting to come in” or “things are picking up” or maybe “We’re busier than we’ve been in a while”. But even though the exact words may differ slightly, the common thread is the unspoken nervousness about what may lie ahead.

The companies in this region have shown their resilience and ingenuity in rolling with the punches and are prepared to once again be a part of a resurgent Vermont economy.

We do have our challenges in Southern Vermont. Many businesses struggle to recruit people to fill middle and upper level positions. The historically strong manufacturing workforce is aging. In the Connecticut River Valley, we face competition for people, companies and social infrastructure with our friends across the river in New Hampshire, with no sales or income tax.

Yet, we are heartened to be involved in a dialogue about how best to move the state, the entire state, forward economically. The “Jobs Bill” is a good start in that process. There are several pieces that will help the residents and companies of Vermont, as well as encouraging new growth. The bill would strengthen important existing resources, like the Vermont Training Program (perhaps one of the best economic development tools) and the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive. And it also helps to nurture the important technology workforce of the future and the burgeoning “Farm to Plate” effort to grow that increasing part of the economy.

In Springfield, for many years, there was a desire to find the “next thing”. After all, we were the “machine tool capital of the world”. The reality is that Springfield, like the rest of our wonderful state, is not going to be any “one” thing. It’s a puzzle with many pieces including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, information technology and much more.  An important part of the Jobs Bill is the creation of a current long-term strategic economic development plan, which will help to identify the sectors of importance and the strategies and support they need to flourish in our state.

What’s the best way to retain what we have and put the multiple pieces together into a cohesive picture?  That’s the challenge ahead. Springfield Regional Development Corporation, as well as the other RDC’s, is ready, willing and able to do our part in working with our communities and economic development partners to help us all move forward.