Regional Planning &
Economic Development 
in the Northeast Kingdom
 David Snedeker, Executive Director   

e-Newsletter - March 2024   

Community Announcements

NEK Broadband Expands Internet Service in the Region

NEK Broadband has activated new high-speed internet lines to serve 182 homes and businesses in Concord and Lunenburg. Visit the website and track ongoing network buildout in Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties. Added service is expected by the end of the year to other areas of Lunenburg and Concord and fourteen other towns in the Northeast Kingdom where engineering, design and permitting are well underway.

Municipal Planning Grant Awards

2024 Municipal Planning Grants have been awarded to four NEK communities. Congratulations to Concord, Maidstone, Sheffield and St. Johnsbury! Planning Grants are administered by the Department of Housing & Community Development and support community revitalization and planning initiatives in Vermont's cities and towns. MPGs offer the funding needed to lay the groundwork for a stronger future while promoting participation and engaging residents in decision-making.

Upcoming Legislative Breakfasts - Presented by North Country Chamber of Commerce and NEK Chamber of Commerce.

  • March 11, 7:30-8:45 am, Eastside Restaurant, Newport Presenters will be Senator Russ Ingalls and Representative Katherine Sims. Bill Davis is Moderator. Recorded sessions by NEKTV will be available on YouTube. Contact Dan Pellerin for additional information
  • March 25, 8:00-9:00 am, St. Johnsbury House For information about guest presenters, contact

"Hardy by Design" a Community Design Charrette

AIA Vermont will be hosting a resilient design charrette event in May, and towns throughout the state are invited to submit projects that might benefit from architectural design input. Architects will provide an afternoon of pro-bono services to towns, non-profits, or community groups that have ideas for community development centered around resiliency. It's an opportunity to work with design experts to generate solutions that help revitalize our built environment. AIA VT invites project proposals. The deadline to apply is Mar 15th. Find more information and the application Here

The Solar Eclipse is Coming!

A total eclipse occurs approximately every 18 months somewhere in the world - but the coming event on April 8th is roughly a once-in-a-century opportunity for Vermonters. The moon will align perfectly between the earth and the sun, blocking all of the sun's rays and bringing a brief dusk-like darkness. The "path of totality" will streak diagonally across the state, moving northeast and passing directly over the NEK. Communities throughout the region are busy making preparations. VT League of Cities & Towns has a template on their website to assist communities in planning for safety that day Lg Event Planning. Visit the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium website to see the eclipse-related activities planned for St. Johnsbury Sun+Moon+You

Emergency Planning & Recovery Opportunities

Regional Emergency Management Committee Meetings

  • Orleans-Essex REMC: Mon, Mar 25th, 1:00 pm / Newport Fire Station
  • Caledonia-Essex REMC: Wed, Mar 27th, 2:00 pm / Barnet Fire Station

Contact Bruce Melendy for a link to attend virtually

New Flood Resource for Municipalities

The Disaster Resiliency Improvement Areas (DRIA) program is being proposed to help prevent grand list decline and create an opportunity to grow grand list values in disaster vulnerable communities. Municipalities are being offered a tool to retain and improve housing properties and enhance public infrastructure in disaster impacted areas. The DRIA program can be used as an alternative to, or in conjunction with, FEMA buyouts. Read more DRIA

Hazard Mitigation Funding Announcement

FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is offered through Vermont Emergency Management to support natural hazard mitigation in the state after the July 2023 flooding. Funding is for projects and planning to reduce the future risk of flooding, landslides, or other natural hazards. Pre-applications are due Jun 21st. To learn more, visit Vermont's Disaster Based Funding

Links to more Flood Disaster Assistance:

Business Announcements

Hardwick Yellow Barn Project - Making Progress!

Have you driven through Hardwick lately? The new Business Accelerator building is rapidly transforming from a shell to a structure with a roof and walls. The Yellow Barn Project is a joint infrastructure project between the Town of Hardwick and local partners to renovate an iconic barn at the west entrance of town, and build an adjacent 25,000 sq. foot structure to support the local food system infrastructure. The five-year project will strengthen local farm-and-food-based businesses and the multi-use buildings will become a retail destination and a logistical support center for agricultural products. Visit the Center for an Agricultural Economy website and learn more: Innovating Together

VMEC Offering Lean 101 Training in Lyndonville

Do North Coworking will host Lean 101 Training: Lean Transformation in Manufacturing, Mar 20th from 8:00 am-4:00 pm. Visit the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center Training & Events page for content information and to register.

Peak Pitch 2024 @ Sugarbush Resort, March 12th, 8:30 am-4:00 pm

Hosted by Fresh Tracks Capital, Peak Pitch Vermont is a skiing, networking and pitch event for entrepreneurs and investors. The event at Sugarbush Mountain is in its 18th year. During a fun day of skiing, entrepreneurs are paired on a chairlift with an investor or advisor and given the opportunity to deliver an elevator pitch on the way up the mountain! Want more information? Visit the website or email Holly Killary Peak Pitch 2024

Filing Deadline for Federal Working Capital Loans: March 21st

The SBA is reminding small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations that the deadline to file for federal working capital loans in Vermont affected by freeze on May 17-18, 2023, is Mar 21st. The low-interest disaster loans are available in the counties of Caledonia, Essex, Orleans. Applicants may call SBA's Customer Service Center for more information (800) 659-2955 or email

SBA THRIVE Accepting Applications for 2024

THRIVE is an executive-level training series designed to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses. T.H.R.I.V.E. stands for Train. Hope. Rise. Innovate. Venture. Elevate. There are no restrictions on the types of businesses that can participate, but the free advanced training series is not for start-ups. To find out more, visit the SBA website Emerging Leaders Reimagined.

Career Training & Adult Education Courses

Vermont State University - Lyndon, Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Ann Nygard,

Vermont Technical College - Vermont State University) 2 campuses: Williston & Randolph Division of Workforce, Community & Economic Development

North Country Career Center, Newport

Contact Chris Damato (802) 334-5469 x3305

St. Johnsbury Academy

Contact Sandra Mings Lamar (802) 748-7738

Lyndon Institute Career & Technical Education Center

Contact or Michelle Parson, Work-based Learning Coordinator,

Canaan School CTE Program

Chuck Patterson, Coordinator of Curriculum, or call (802) 266-8910

Sterling College School of the New American Farmstead Contact

Funding Opportunities for Communities & Businesses

  • AARP 2024 Community Challenge Grant Eligible nonprofit organizations and municipalities can apply before Mar 6th. The grants fund quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long-term by improving public spaces, transportation, housing, digital connections, and more. Community Challenge Grant Opportunities
  • NBRC 2024 Catalyst Program The Catalyst Program supports a broad range of economic development initiatives that modernize and expand water and wastewater systems; revitalize transportation infrastructure; establish workforce development programs and facilities, grow the outdoor recreation economy, and provide access to new childcare and healthcare facilities. Spring pre-application deadline is Mar 22nd. Read more about the program Here
  • State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) The VT International Trade Division will manage STEP, a grant program for small businesses to compete globally by offsetting the cost of export-related activities like foreign trade missions, export trade shows, training workshops, or designing international marketing campaigns. 2024 STEP grants are awarded on a rolling basis. Visit
  • Newport Small Business Technical Assistance Program Newport Downtown Development is offering funding for technical assistance services for small businesses located in the Designated Newport City Downtown. Reimbursable grant funds can cover up to 100% of the project. NCIC is assisting in the management of these funds. For more information, questions or application, contact Aimee Quimby, 802) 748-5101 x2019.
  • Town of Lyndon Fund The Lyndon Small Business Fund was established to support both the development of new businesses in Lyndon and the growth of existing small businesses. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis over a two-year period. NVDA will manage the program. Half the funding will be dispersed in 2024 and half in 2025. Click here to fill out a short application or contact Annie McLean for more information
  • Funding Cycle Open: FFY2024 Clean Water Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWSRF) The VT Agency of Natural Resources is soliciting a project priority list. Planning and design funds are available at any time, however, any project that requires construction funding must be on the priority list. For more information and applications visit Priority Lists - CWSRF & DWSRF
  • Better Places Grants If your town is thinking of more parks and green spaces, a vibrant main street, public art, and community gardens, Better Places grants can help. The statewide program is supported by VT Department of Housing & Community Development, VT Department of Health, and VT Community Foundation. Projects are accepted on a rolling basis. Visit the website: Better Places
  • Community Heart & Soul The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program is uniquely designed for small cities and towns (population 2,500-30,000). Successful applicants will receive $10,000 grants to match funding from a participating municipality or a partnering organization. Apply Here. Awards are made on a rolling basis.

Funding for the Arts

  • Creation Grants The VT Arts Council is accepting applications for its annual Creation Grant, which supports artists or artist groups in creating new work. Funds may be used to compensate artists for time spent creating new work, to purchase materials, or to rent equipment or space for the process. New this year - Applicants will have an option to have their proposal spotlighted on the Councill's website. For more information Click here Application deadline is Apr 9th.
  • (Stay Tuned) Upcoming Arts & Community Spaces Flood Recovery & Resilience Grants The Vermont Community Foundation will be announcing a grant program in March to support art projects that help communities come together as they recover from July flooding. VCF will be inviting proposals for collaborative projects - from the ordinary to the extraordinary! Projects from nonprofit organizations, municipalities or schools are eligible, and those from flood-impacted towns will receive priority. More information is coming soon!

Funding for VT Farm, Food & Forestry Sectors

  • NBRC - 2024 Forest Economy Program Grant The Northern Border Regional Commission released preliminary details of the Forest Economy Program (FEP) grant. Federal funding will be competitively awarded through two funding rounds. Applicants are required to express interest and submit a pre-application online by Mar 22nd (Round 1) or Sept 6th (Round 2). Visit the NBRC website for more information Here
  • Value Added Producer Grants USDA is accepting applications for grants to help agricultural producers maximize the value of their products and venture into new and better markets. Learn more & apply Application deadline Apr 16th.
  • Agriculture Funding Opportunities: The VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets maintains a website of grants, loans and financial assistance that targets specific agricultural needs Here. View the VAAFM Grants Calendar

Grant Writing Assistance

  • REDI Offers Funding for Grant Writing Assistance The Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), a program of the VT Housing and Conservation Board, helps rural communities and working land businesses to access funding for development projects. For more information visit Questions? Mariah Noth (802) 828-1098.  

Loan Programs

  • NEK Prosperity Fund The NEK Prosperity Fund is a project of NEK Prosper, NEK Community Action (NEKCA), and Community Capital of VT. The fund was created to organize and focus investment on equity and population health. Loan recipients will receive business support services from NEKCA's financial and business counselors. NEK Prosperity Fund
  • USDA RD Home Repair Loan Program Federal regulations have made it easier for low-income rural residents to rehab and modernize their homes through USDA 504 Home Repair Loans & Grants. The program provides funding for single family housing to remove health and safety hazards.
  • Vermont Community Loan Fund The VCLF is a community-focused alternative lender that provides loans and other resources to local businesses, organizations, early care & learning providers, and developers of affordable housing who don't qualify for a loan from a traditional lender. For more information visit the website Here
  • Northeast Kingdom Special Loan Program The VT Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is offering low interest loans under its Small Business Program to growing qualified businesses in Essex, Caledonia and Orleans Counties. The NEK Program can make loans of up to $150,000 for fixed asset acquisition or for working capital purposes. Contact Sandy Croft at (802) 828-5472
  • VT Employee Ownership Loan Fund The VEOL Fund provides capital assistance to businesses that are already employee-owned or becoming so, as well as start ups owned by employees. VT Employee Ownership Loan. For more information, contact Don Jamison, Program Director of VT Employee Ownership Center (802) 338-7448,
  • NVDA Revolving Loan Program The Northeastern Vermont Development Association has a limited amount of loan funds available for businesses in Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties. Funds may be used for the purchase of real property and equipment, working capital, and feasibility studies. For more information contact Tina Gonyaw (802) 748-1220 NVDA Revolving Loan Fund is available to businesses and municipalities for brownfield cleanup projects! Contact
  • Efficiency Vermont Energy Loan  The loan program offers affordable financing options to help residents and business customers move forward with energy efficiency projects designed to deliver savings and spur the economy. Energy Loan 

Incentive Programs for Vermont Businesses      

  • VT Employment Growth Incentive Program (VEGI) Vermont offers an economic incentive for business recruitment, growth and expansion. The VEGI program provides financial incentives to qualified businesses that meet performance requirements. Authorization occurs through an application to the VT Economic Progress Council. For more information, visit or contact Abbie Sherman,    
  • VT Training Program (VTP) The Vermont Training Program can be used to train new employees or existing employees if the training is needed for new equipment or technology. VTP can pay up to 50% of an employee's wages/salary during the training period - for pre-employment, new hire, and/or incumbent employee training. Are your employees eligible? Contact John Young, Director of Workforce Development Programs (802) 355-2725 VTP
  • Downtown & Village Center Tax Credit Program This program is designed to stimulate private investment, create jobs, restore historic buildings, and jumpstart revitalization efforts in Vermont's Designated Downtowns and Village Centers. Visit the ACCD website for information about eligible projects and the next round of funding. Tax Credit for Downtown & Village Centers. 

Business Resources

  • VT Manufacturing Extension Center Visit the VMEC website and check out current postings for learning opportunities involving professional development, coaching, and hands-on training for manufacturers and their employees at all levels. VMEC
  • Vermont APEX Accelerator (formerly VT PTAC) VT APEX Accelerator provides businesses with free one-on-one counseling services, technical assistance, and market research to understand the requirements of government contracting. Visit the website Here for a list of workshops with sign-up information. Questions? Contact Brenda Plastridge
  • VHCB Farm & Forest Viability Program The program mission is to enhance the economic viability of Vermont farms and forestry enterprises. Business coaching services are offered to eligible farmers, agriculturally-related businesses, forest products enterprises, and forest landowners. VHCB
  • VT Department of Labor For Information about job openings and training opportunities by region and industry visit VDOL provides free services to employers to help recruit, train and retain a high quality workforce.
  • VT Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) Experienced business advisors are available by email, phone or video conferencing. Do you need help constructing financial statements or application forms for recovery relief funding? For free customized service, contact: Heidi Krantz or Heather Gonyaw
  • Micro Business Development (MBDP) An experienced business coach can help with business financials, marketing plans, and access to financing for low-to-moderate-income entrepreneurs form Caledonia, Essex and Orleans County. Contact Dustin Smith, NEK Community Action (802) 323-9010 for free coaching.
  • NEK Collaborative (NEKC) The Collaborative's mission is to improve the quality of life for all residents in the NEK through coordinated economic and community-supported development.

Looking for Commercial Space? (802) 748-8303 (802) 748-1220

Commercial Building Lots for Sale: St. Johnsbury-Lyndon Industrial Park

& Orleans Industrial Park (water & sewer available)  


Northeastern Vermont Development Association   

St. Johnsbury Office: 802.748-5181 Fax: 802.748-1223


NVDA is the regional planning and development organization serving

Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties - An equal opportunity lender, provider and employer.

 This monthly newsletter is made possible in part by a grant

from the State of Vermont through the Agency of Commerce & Community Development