Community Spotlight: Rutland
Rutland, in the southern end of the Champlain Valley, is the second largest city in Vermont with a downtown area that is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
Rutland’s economic growth was fueled by the rail system and the marble industry and the city once flourished as an industrial and cultural center. As the marble industry declined, Rutland turned to the services and tourism industry in an effort to carve out a new identity.
Rutland area residents and businesses take great interest in the local food and energy movement. The Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), a newly formed organization, works to strengthen regional food sytems in order to sustain long term food security. A local farmers market which runs year round is a popular addition to the community. On the energy front, businesses like Vermont Wood Pellet, which sources wood from within a thirty mile radius, has taken its local energy initiative one step further by supplying energy to customers within a fifty mile radius. Central Vermont Power Supply, the largest electric company in Vermont, recently invested $50,000 to build a 50-kilowatt solar array along Route 7 to feed directly into the grid.
Rutland Redevelopment Authority is taking steps to retain its strong connection to the rail industry, thanks to a Municipal Planning Grant that will enable the City to relocate the rail line from just behind the town center to a site further south of the city. Not only will the new site increase the capacity and efficiency of the yard, but it will also reduce truck congestion and allow for further development of Rutland’s historic central business district.