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June 30, 2017

Harnessing Civil Society

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 3:23 pm

(This piece by SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint appears in SRDC’s Summer Newsletter)

I was at an EDA event in Burlington, Mass last month about “resiliency”. Frankly, I was dreading having to go, but figured I should make an appearance. It turned out to be a really interesting event with useful information that we’ll try to incorporate into our work at SRDC.

But what has really stayed with me was a comment that was made by the keynote speaker, a gentleman, Dr. Stephen Flynn, who was discussing the challenges of getting logistics and systems functional again in New York City after 9/11. It was a moving talk and he talked about how people pulled together, in an ad hoc way, because they cared and how powerful that was. In his words, it showed:

“The importance of harnessing the capabilities of civil society”.

That phrase has lingered with me over the past several weeks. Maybe it’s because of the turmoil going on with the national political scene (which has hit Federal agencies that SRDC deals with). Maybe it’s because another example of this that was discussed was the way Vermont responded to the challenge of Irene a few years ago.

But it was a timely reminder, as we are celebrating our nation’s 241st birthday, of the power of what we can accomplish together.

In that spirit, SRDC has a lot going on, from redevelopment work at the former Bryant Grinder property to assisting Windsor Improvement Corporation on considering the acquisition of the former Goodyear property. There’s a potential tech accelerator that’s gaining momentum, but there’s also the logistical challenges presented by the recent (temporary) closure of County Road, the main access to Precision Park.

There are also visible examples of collaboration, from the Better Connections-granted funded programs in the region. Springfield’s just crossed the finish line, Chester’s close behind and Windsor’s getting in the starting gates.

And, speaking of “Collaboration”, there is the “Collaboratory”, the “Makers Space” that SRDC has partnered with the River Valley Tech Center on, which is located at RVTC. This has turned into a wonderful success for students in the region and the Space has opened to the public this spring (and will be open again this August).

We hope your summer is going well and, as always, we are grateful for the continued support of our communities and our members!

June 15, 2017

SRDC Receives VEDA Financing for Bryants Redevelopment Project

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 11:16 am

Springfield Regional Development Corporation announced that it has received financing of $625,000 from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to assist with the redevelopment of roughly 35,000 square feet of the former Bryant Grinder facility in Springfield.

SRDC will utilize the VEDA funds to continue repairs to the southern portion of the building to prepare it for future occupancy. Bob Flint, SRDC Executive Director, said that the support from VEDA comes at a critical time. “The north and south ends of the building are in the best condition and can be put back into use. The VEDA financing will allow us to have usable space to market for commercial use for Springfield,” Flint said.

Flint said that SRDC has been working with environmental and historic preservation consultants on a variety of issues with the building since it was acquired in 2010. He said that the property on Clinton Street is in a New Market Tax Credit-eligible census tract and that the eventual site redevelopment would likely utilize this resource.

VEDA Chief Executive Officer Jo Bradley said that the loan was an example of VEDA’s continued support for economic development in Vermont. “VEDA has worked closely with SRDC on a number of projects over the years, and we are pleased to support their efforts to bring this important building in Springfield back to life,” Bradley said.

Flint added that work on the redevelopment project is expected to begin by the end of the summer.