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December 21, 2016

Taking Stock of 2016

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 10:02 am

(This appears in SRDC’s Winter Newsletter)

The year has flown by and, while we didn’t check everything off of the “to do” list (e.g. J & L Plant 1), we have made a lot of progress around the region.  Here are a few items to celebrate and update as we turn the calendar to 2017:

-       Trout River Brewery – Trevor, Gabe and Kelen finished their build out and, by December, had introduced six (if I’m counting right!) different varieties of beer to the market.  The company also received a Vermont downtown historic tax credit for their project.  As we spoke about at the SRDC Annual Meeting, Trout River and Konrad Prefab are two examples of projects that we’ve been involved with all of the way, from concept to business planning and financing, to site selection and build out, to operation and production. And, in both cases, we’re grateful to have such great partners as our Small Business Development Center and Debra Boudrieau!

-       Konrad Prefab – Later in this newsletter are pictures from the recent Ribbon Cutting event with Congressman Peter Welch. It’s been exciting to see David Jaacks’ vision come to life and the partnership he has with Mamava is going to be a win-win on lots of levels.  All of the businesses in the Jones Center have had great years and it’s always exciting to see the building humming with activity.

-       Blake Hill Preserves – Governor Shumlin was on hand for this Ribbon Cutting event this fall, to celebrate the completion of the new 6,000 sf facility that SRDC built for this new business in Windsor’s Artisans Park.  We are so happy for our friends Vicky Allard and Joe Hanglin, who have built this business from their kitchen into national distribution.  We also appreciate our continued partnership with Terry McDonnell.

-       J & L/Bryants – Patience is a virtue. And, I need to stop making predictions when it comes to these properties.  These are among the lessons I have to finally learn in 2017!  Having said that, both of these projects have taken significant steps forward this year.  In the case of Bryants, SRDC has invested roughly $300,000 in the south end of the building and is anticipating spending around that amount in the near future.  This will result in a 35,000 sf space that is clean, environmentally, secure and watertight. It now has electricity again and we will continue to restore functionality as we prepare the area for occupancy.

As for J & L, there is a lot of activity to prepare for the “main event” (demolition and redevelopment).  Doug and I signed off on the demo specs this week and asbestos cleanup plans are in their final stages.  EPA was in town last week (for the 3rd time since spring) to gather information as we continue to work with them for additional assistance.  The Town of Springfield also received funding for extending the Toonerville Trail to run behind the Jones Center and J & L, which hopefully will coincide with the site activity.

-       Windsor/WIC – SRDC has continued to increase its partnership with Windsor Improvement Corporation (WIC) and the Town of Windsor. We now provide administrative and project assistance to WIC and we appreciate the increased level of financial support!  Paul Kowalski is working with WIC on its recent purchase of properties in the Jarvis Street/Riverfront area and is developing plans for the repair/renovation of those houses.

And there’s much more, as we covered at the Annual Meeting!

2017 is shaping up to be a busy year with work on new downtown plans in Springfield and Chester, a new property to manage in Windsor, as well as establishing our first SRDC-owned revolving loan fund and other expansion/development projects I can’t comment on yet.

Thank you to our Board and all of SRDC’s members as well as our area communities and residents for the continued support.  I also want to add a personal thanks to our staff – Sandy, Heather, Cynthia and Paul as well as our in-house partners – Debra, Ed and Robin.

On behalf of all of us at SRDC, best wishes for a joyous and peaceful holiday season and a wondrous 2017.

December 12, 2016

Congressman Welch Cuts Ribbon for New Springfield VT Manufacturer

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 4:14 pm

Congressman Peter Welch did the honors on Monday at the official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Konrad Prefab’s new manufacturing facility in the Robert S. Jones Industrial Center in Springfield Vermont.

Konrad Prefab specializes in the design and production of modular and display units. Their initial product line are lactation suites, which will be distributed by Burlington Vermont-based Mamava.  The suites will be installed in public facilities around the country to support nursing mothers.

Congressman Welch lauded the new business in Springfield. “It’s heartening to see a new, vibrant manufacturer in a community that’s synonymous with manufacturing globally.”

Konrad Prefab President David Jaacks thanked everyone that had assisted with the project. “I appreciate the support that Springfield Regional Development Corporation, VEDA, Mascoma Bank and the Town of Springfield has provided in getting our business up and running. We’re pleased to bring new manufacturing jobs to Springfield.”

Mamava CEO and Co-Founder Sascha Mayer thanked Congressman Welch for his continued support of Mamava and was pleased that the company is now able to have its products manufactured in Vermont.  “We’re grateful for the opportunity to not just support our nursing mamas, but our local economy and community here in Vermont. It is this amazing community that made Mamava possible and we couldn’t be happier to reciprocate that support today”, Mayer said.

Konrad Prefab’s new operation is in 20,000 square feet in the Robert S. Jones Industrial Center in Springfield, which is owned by Springfield Regional Development Corporation.  The business is one of four that are located in the facility, and is expected to employ 10 – 15 people within the next year.

December 8, 2016

Community Visioning Workshop in Chester on 12/14

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 8:33 am

On December 14th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Town Hall Auditorium, representatives from the Town of Chester along with consultants from SE Group will be facilitating a Community Vision Workshop.  As an element of public involvement for developing a Master Plan for Chester Village Center, this community workshop is intended to offer residents and the public-at-large an opportunity to provide input, suggestions, comments and ideas on how to strengthen and improve the long-term vibrancy within the Village.  The Workshop is organized around two parts:

The first part will include a presentation of the “baseline” conditions assessment. This will highlight what has been learned to date and how it might inform the long-term vision for the master plan. Participants will have the ability to provide comments and offer suggestions.  It is expected that the presentation portion of the meeting will last approximately 30-45 minutes, plus time for questions.

The second part of the meeting will focus on exploring a vision.  Using large maps of the Village and facilitated small-group discussions, participants will help brainstorm on ways to help improve the long-term vibrancy of the Village.  After about one hour, each of the small groups will provide a “report” back to the overall meeting on the key opportunities they explored.

The schedule for the meeting is as follows:

5:00PM – 5:30 PM                  Welcome and Informal Conversations

5:30PM – 6:30 PM                  Part 1 – Baseline Conditions – Things to Consider

-        Overview of the Study Area – Key Highlights

-        Focus Group Workshop – Key Highlights

-        Community Visitor Survey – Key Highlights

-        Market and Economic Conditions-  Key Highlights

6:30PM – 6:45PM                  Break – Getting into Small Groups

6:45 PM – 8:00 PM                  Part 2 – Small Group Exercise – Exploring the Vision

-        Opportunities for Access and Circulation

-        Opportunities for Recreation

-        Opportunities for Economic Development

-        Opportunities for Land Use

-        Opportunities for Gathering

8:00 PM – 8:30 PM                  Small Group Reports and Summary

If you are not able to attend the event, information from the meeting will be made available online and you are welcome to provide comments at any time through the Town’s website at www.chestervt.gov\rediscover.  Kids are welcome to attend!  Legos and coloring books/crayons and paper will be available!   Light refreshments will be available.

About the Project: The Town of Chester, working through a Strong Communities / Better Communities grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, has recently begun this “Rediscovering Chester” effort.  The purpose of the project is to identify areas (physical improvements, community organization, branding) that the Town might pursue to assure the continued vitality of its Village Center.

Previously the Project conducted a community Focus Group discussion (October 22nd) and Visitor Survey (that recently closed out at the end of October).  Also on Saturday, September 17th, members of the Town and the consulting team were present at the Chester-on-the-Green event to listen and learn from residents and visitors on what makes Chester a special place.  This Community Vision Workshop is planned to provide the community with an update of these inputs and seek additional guidance on the long-term vision for the Village Center.