Making A Difference in Vermont: Smart Growth Awards

Making A Difference in Vermont: Smart Growth Awards

When our kids can walk to school, our seniors stay in their community, and we can spend less time in our cars because of well-designed communities, we all win. These are some of the prime features of this year’s Smart Growth Awards. The same evening, Wednesday, September 16, 2009, at the Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes, we will honor Robert E. Woolmington of North Bennington with the Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership. Rob was at the forefront of preserving our landscape and strengthening communities through his work with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and other community interests.

Smart Growth Vermont created the Awards program in 2006 to honor the people, projects and plans that keep Vermont a great place to live. We are proud to announce this year’s winners:

  • Finney Crossing, a plan for Tafts Corners developed by The Snyder Taft Corners, LLC and JCST, LLC. This compact mixed-use community will include a range of housing types, from single family homes to multi-family apartments, as well as shops and offices. People are at the center of the design, with an extensive sidewalk network and multiple public outdoor spaces. When Finney Crossing is built, it will represent a major step towards turning the Tafts Corners area into a neighborhood in its own right as well as a commercial and retail destination.
  • The ReCycle North Social Enterprise Extension, or ReStore, in Barre. ReCycle North renovated an abandoned granite shed and retrofitted it for high energy efficiency to create the Barre ReStore. Located in an historic downtown easily accessed by public transportation, the ReStore will provide community residents easy access to recycled appliances, lumber and paint. The building will also extend the organization’s programs to help lower-income residents develop their skills and become self-sufficient – a critical need in this low income city with a high unemployment rate.
  • Proctorsville Green Revitalization in Cavendish. Using a combination of historic renovation and thoughtfully designed new construction, Housing Vermont partnered with the Rockingham Area Community Land Trust and the Town of Cavendish to create 20 permanently affordable apartments and four permanently affordable townhomes right on a newly constructed village green within walking distance of two churches, the school, the library, firehouse and several stores. The project also includes space for the village post office and a yarn and fabric arts shop.
  • Banknorth Block in Burlington. This project combines a mix of homes and office space all within easy walking distance of several bus routes, jobs, shops, schools and Burlington’s waterfront. Through a partnership of Housing Vermont, the Champlain Housing Trust, Redstone, and Farrell Real Estate, the historic O.L. Hinds factory at the corner of King and St. Paul was restored and converted to 15 modern condos, and two historic homes at the corner of King and Pine were renovated into apartments. Champlain Housing Trust’s office are now in a modern building on King Street that includes 20 apartments, 17 of which will remain permanently affordable. This project not only boosts Burlington’s tax base, it also enhances the urban fabric of a prominent block in Vermont’s largest city.

As founding chair of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Rob Woolmington helped establish one of Vermont’s flagship programs charged with a dual mission – conserving important open lands and creating affordable housing – that was unique in the nation. The result is Vermont Housing and Conservation Board’s strong record of success, with nearly 10,000 affordable housing units created and over 375,000 acres conserved. Rob is the current chair of the Vermont Community Foundation Board of Directors and helped found the Fund for North Bennington. The Fund focuses on land conservation and also an eclectic mix of interests – from building trails to collecting stories and photos of the village to operating a gas station – that help preserve the best of a very special Vermont community.
The Arthur Gibb Award is in memory of the man often referred to as the “Father of Act 250.” Arthur Gibb Award winners are chosen for the following characteristics that Art was known for: leadership, commitment to public service, vision, creativity, ability to balance competing interests and forge consensus, integrity and humility.

Registration for the event is $50 per person, which includes a full dinner at the Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes. Cocktails start at 6 pm. with dinner and awards following at 7 pm. For more information about the award winners, or to register for the event, visit our website, or call (802) 864-6310. Registrations close Friday, September 11.

Smart Growth Vermont is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to forging growth and conservation solutions for Vermont communities and working rural lands. For more information, please visit Smart Growth Vermont’s website at