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

e-Newsletter - May 2024   

Community Announcements

Lyndonville's Route 5 Corridor Master Plan Receives National Recognition

The Vermont Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) selected Lyndonville's Route 5 Corridor Master Plan to receive a planning award for excellence. The awards ceremony will be held in Burlington on May 8th.

Five Historic Barns Receive Preservation Grants

Grant funding will be used to make repairs to five historic barns in our region. The state-funded program helps rehabilitate historic agricultural buildings that are a symbol of Vermont's rural landscape. Two farmsteads were selected in Barnet, the Gilkerson Farm and Maplemont Farm. The Morse Farm in Danville, Elijah Martin Homestead in Peacham, and Arba Joy Farm in Island Pond also received funding. The next grant round will be announced in August. Visit the ACCD website Here

Vermont's 2024 Green Up Day is May 4th

Volunteers make a big difference every year in helping to clean up litter along our neighborhood roads and waterways. Green Up trash bags are available from Volunteer Town Coordinators. Find your specific town details Here

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

Orleans County Conservation District - Conservation Fair, May 4th, 10 am-Noon

The annual Conservation Fair will feature a special presentation: Permaculture & Agroforestry: Working Trees on Vermont Landscapes. Two field experts will share information on holistic management practices to help incorporate working trees into agricultural landscapes and produce commercially viable timber and non-timber forest products. Learn more and reserve tickets Here

Vermont Community Tree Planting Program (CTPG)

The program will offer two rounds of grant proposals to plant trees in urban areas that will increase urban tree canopy, and improve water quality and public health by controlling stormwater. The goal is to support the planting of 2,000 trees statewide! Municipalities, schools, and nonprofits can apply. May 17th is the first application deadline. Visit the website for details Here. Questions? Contact Kyle Dwyer

Village Trust Initiative (VTI)

The Preservation Trust of Vermont has partnered with the VT Council on Rural Development and the VT Community Foundation to offer VTI, a community organization offering expertise and funding to help small Vermont towns to bolster a transformational project in their community. The selection process begins with a simple intake form due May 24th. A select number of interested communities will be invited to submit applications. To learn more visit the website Questions?

Town of Lunenburg & Village of Gilman Achieve Recognition

Lunenburg and Gilman completed a year-long process that will support the community's future revitalization efforts. Their first-ever Municipal Plan received NVDA approval, and Village Center Designation has been awarded by the Agency of Commerce & Community Development. Lunenburg and Gilman now have full recognition from the State to pursue state funding, technical assistance, and tax credits for development initiatives. Congratulations to all who worked to achieve these two milestones!

NEK Chamber of Commerce Appoints New Executive Director

Loralee Tester is replacing longtime Director, Darcie McCann. Loralee has a deep-rooted connection to the Northeast Kingdom. As an educator with broad leadership experience, she has formed valuable partnerships and seeks to bring new opportunities to the region. Loralee is an active member of the VT Business Roundtable and President of the Lyndon Institute Board of Trustees.

Bellows Falls to Host Two Major Events on June 5-6: Downtown Historic Preservation Conference & Vermont Creative Network's Creative Convening. The 2024 Historic Preservation Conference will take place on June 5th. Registration information will be announced soon. On June 6th, the Creative Sector Convening will offer businesses and organizations new skills to invigorate Vermont communities through creativity. Register: Creative Sector Convening

Emergency Planning & Recovery Opportunities

Flood Mapping & Bylaw Update

NVDA and the Department of Environmental Conservation are hosting a Q&A at the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro May 13th, 4:00-6:00 pm. This event is to review FEMA's map update process and discuss what local officials can expect as they look to administer updated flood regulations in our region. Food will be provided at no cost. RSVP Here Questions? Contact Alison Low

Regional Emergency Management Committee Meetings

  • Orleans-Essex REMC: Mon, May 20th, 1:00 pm / Newport Fire Station
  • Caledonia-Essex REMC: Wed, May 29th, 2:00 pm / Barnet Fire Station

The meetings are in-person and via ZOOM. Contact Bruce Melendy for ZOOM access information.

Regional Flood Recovery Symposiums

The VT Department of Economic Development will offer three in-person regional workshops featuring one-on-one sessions with federal program staff covering federal resources and funding opportunities for businesses, municipalities and nonprofits. Organizers of the Regional Flood Recovery Symposiums want your input. Please weigh in on topics you would like covered during the symposiums by taking this survey. Dates and locations will be announced soon. For more information email

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 June 21st. To learn more, visit Vermont's Disaster Based Funding

Links to more Flood Disaster Assistance:

Business Announcements

NEK Workforce Partners Job Fest, May 3rd, 10:00 am-2:00 pm, Lyndon

The VT Department of Labor and partners, will host a Job Fest at the Fenton Chester Ice Arena in Lyndon. The FREE event offers time and space for local employers and area jobseekers. Employer registration Here. Questions? Elizabeth Hudson, Workforce Development Specialist (802) 748-2076

2024 Training & Matchmaking Event: Government to Business - Reaching New Heights May 15-16, Burlington

The two-day conference is an opportunity for Government Agencies, Government Contractors, and Small Businesses to engage directly with each other at the Hilton Lake Champlain in Burlington. Register Here

2024 VT Forest Industry Summit: Innovation in the Forest Economy, June 6th, Bolton Valley Resort

This year's agenda will feature learning sessions that explore developments in forest products, land use planning, forest management, and recreation. Register today

Save the Date: June 25th, VCDA Spring Conference

The VT Community Development Association (VCDA) will hold its 2024 Spring Conference in Hardwick: How Municipalities Can Drive Local Economic Development. Registration will open on this website in May: VCDA 2024 Spring Conference

NEK Broadband Training at NCCC

North Country Career Center and NEK Broadband have launched a joint venture to develop a training program for broadband network technicians beginning May 8th. NEK Broadband continues to expand its new fiber optic internet network and technical job openings exist for skilled workers in network construction, ongoing network maintenance and customer service. In Vermont, the majority of Fiber Optic Technician salaries currently range between $22.98/hr. to $33.46 and often include additional benefits. Learn more

NEK Learning Services in August: Step Up to Child Care Classes

The Step Up to Child Care program is tailored to meet the needs of those who want to enter the field of early childhood education (ECE). The free training is designed to provide extra support to community members who may not feel ready to enroll in college courses. This includes individuals who were previously employed in ECE before new state regulations, as well as those who want to open a home child care center. For more information contact Annie Christoni, (802) 334-2643

Immediate Job Openings at CAE

The Center for an Agricultural Economy has two positions on the Farm Connex team for full-time and part-time Delivery Drivers. Visit the website for employment details Here.

Everlasting Herb Farm is Vermont SBA Microenterprise of the Year!

Everlasting Herb Farm in Peacham is where herbalist Wendy Mackenzie creates Meadowscape Botanicals skincare solutions with products cultivated on her farm. The small business started in 2003 and continues to grow, gaining industry attention and by making a noticeable impact on the market. Meadow Bee Deodorant is an award winning natural product that won international recognition in 2023. "It's people, planet and pollinator friendly." The SBA 2024 awards ceremony for Vermont's Microenterprise of the Year will be held in Burlington on June 12th. Congratulations Wendy! Learn more

Kathy Austin Named Vermont Banker's Woman of the Year

Kathy Austin, CEO of Community National Bank, was recently awarded the Vermont Bankers Association Woman of the Year. Kathy has been in the financial industry for more than 40 years and she has a long history of encouraging employee growth and development. Congratulations from NVDA!

Career Training & Adult Education Courses

Vermont State University - Lyndon, Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

  • June 12-13, Intensive two-day learning experience: Trail Building & Stewardship for Non-Motorized Multi-Use Trail Boot Camp Learn more 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 Adult Education

  • LNA Summer Intensive Course for Certification: July 22 - Aug 16 - Tuition Assistance available

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

  • Municipal Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) Often, small rural towns in need of investment lack in-house capacity to develop local projects and access grant funds. The Vermont Council on Rural Development is offering free technical support services through MTAP. Need help to review assets and needs and prioritize projects, or help with grant-writing, permit applications, or regulatory compliance? Learn more by contacting Jessica Savage, VCRD's Director of Community Collaboration
  • Rural Fire Protection Grant Program The installation of new dry hydrants and other types of rural water supplies is still the program priority, but eligible projects may include repair/upgrade, replacement, or relocation of existing rural water supplies (whether previously grant funded or not), and drafting site development. visit to download the application packet or contact Troy Dare (802) 828-4582 to have an application mailed.
  • 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

  • Cultural Facilities Grants The grant funding helps Vermont nonprofit organizations and municipalities to enhance, create or expand the capacity of existing buildings to provide cultural activities for the public. Learn more
  • Arts Operating Grant The funding is for arts organizations that offer year-round, high-quality arts programs and services, and support the Council's mission to "cultivate and advance the arts and creativity throughout Vermont. Learn More

Funding for VT Farm, Food & Forestry Sectors

  • 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

  • Grant Basics: Developing& Funding the Project VLTC is offering free training on May 28th, 10 am-12 pm. Learn about project development to ensure what resources are needed to build, operate, and maintain a grant-funded project. Register here
  • 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 Prosper
  • 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 Jessica Hartleben     
  • 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 , Heather Gonyaw, or Rick Daniell
  • 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