Small Grants for Smart Growth Winners

Vermont Natural Resources Council Grants Funds to Danville, VT for Community Engagement Around Historic Railroad Station Revitalization

October 25, 2018 – The Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) has granted the Danville Village to Village Steering Committee $1,500 through VNRC’s Small Grants for Smart Growth Program. The funds will be used to support community engagement activities around the revitalization of the 1871 Historic Danville Railroad Station in Danville Village, adjacent to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT), a four-season, multi-use recreation trail.

At an Open House event at the railroad station on Saturday, October 27, the Danville Village to Village Steering Committee crowdsourced information from local residents and LVRT users regarding potential and desired uses for the historic building, which currently serves as Danville’s community recycling center. Participants also engaged in visioning activities that provided guidance for architectural sketches of building improvements. The public was encouraged to attend to help shape the future of this unique community resource.

Danville’s work on the Historic Danville Railroad Station is a component of a larger planning process that aims to increase access and safety between the LVRT, Danville Village and West Danville; plan for a signage and navigation system for the LVRT; and identify economic development strategies to promote small business development in Danville.

“In the process of identifying and improving key activity centers in Danville, we recognized that there was an opportunity to look more closely at the Railroad Station and the role it plays in the community,” said Kate Whitehead of the Danville Village to Village Steering Committee. “The building has high potential to act as an important connection between the LVRT and Danville Village, and we’re excited to hear from community members about what they think.”

“The revitalization of the historic rail station has great potential to make this a community asset that enriches this part of Danville Village for the benefit of residents and visitors to the community,” said Kate McCarthy, Sustainable Programs Community Director at VNRC and administrator of the Small Grants for Smart Growth Program. “We’re thrilled to be able to support this project.”

Recalling the value of the railroad industry to Danville’s growth in generations past, Whitehead added: “Revitalizing this area in many ways parallels the foundational intent of years past: supporting local commerce, increasing access to multi-modal transportation options and enabling new collaborative partnerships to form in the community.”

The Small Grants for Smart Growth Program, launched by VNRC in 2018, provides seed money for community-based, local initiatives related to smart growth, including 1) advocacy for better land use through municipal planning, regulations, or advocacy in the permit process; and 2) initiatives in the following areas provided they relate to smart growth: transportation; housing; conservation, including agriculture, forestry, and historic preservation; and downtown and/or village center development or restoration. Small Grants are made possible with assistance from Beth Humstone, co-founder of the Vermont Forum on Sprawl and former VNRC Board Chair, and her son, Chris Gignoux.

To learn more about the Small Grants for Smart Growth Program, visit http://vnrc.org/programs/sustainable-communities/small-grants-for-smart-growth/. For additional information on the Danville Village to Village Project, and to sign up for progress updates, visit https://www.v2v-danvillevt.org/.


VNRC Awards First Round of Small Grants to Organizations Making Smart Growth Efforts in VT

June 21, 2018 – The Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) is pleased to announce the first round of awards made through its new Small Grants for Smart Growth Program. The three projects chosen support the smart growth efforts of communities in diverse and innovative ways, including a project on community planning for local bicycle trails, community outreach around minimizing stormwater runoff, and a urine diversion pilot project to help deal with wastewater in unsewered villages.

“With these grants we’re excited to see the many ways that Vermont’s communities are working to promote livability,” said Kate McCarthy, Sustainable Communities Program Director at VNRC. “We know that even small amounts of funding can help local officials and community groups develop their ideas, so we’re thrilled to help spark these efforts across the state through this flexible grant program.”

The Small Grants for Smart Growth Program, launched this year, provides seed money for community-based, local initiatives related to smart growth, including: 1) advocacy for better land use through municipal planning, regulations, or advocacy in the permit process; and 2) initiatives in the following areas provided they relate to smart growth: transportation; housing; conservation, including agriculture, forestry, and historic preservation; and downtown and/or village center development or revitalization.

    • The Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro, working with the Windham Regional Commission, will use its $1,500 small grant for a pilot project in at least one Vermont village that replicates its Nutrient Reclamation Project, the nation’s first community-scale urine recycling program to transform waste into legally-approved fertilizer for agricultural use. With so many villages throughout Vermont facing failing septic systems and other wastewater challenges, this project will help explore a model that could ultimately be used more widely across the state.
    • With its grant of $1,500, the South Hero Land Trust, working with the South Hero Trails Committee and other local partners, will explore the creation of a non-motorized, multi-use trail network that would connect important community resources and natural areas in the core of South Hero. In particular, the grant will provide the Trust with resources for community engagement, ensuring the project meets local needs.
    • The Lewis Creek Association in Hinesburg used its award of $250 to promote village land use strategies to avoid pollution of local streams and burdens on community services. These strategies were presented by local experts at a watershed meeting entitled “Water Matters: Envisioning Healthy Villages and Healthy Watersheds.”

The Small Grants for Smart Growth Program is made possible with assistance from Beth Humstone, co-founder of the Vermont Forum on Sprawl and former VNRC board chair, and her son, Chris Gignoux.

“We are pleased to see these first three grants promote citizen engagement and the demonstration of thoughtful approaches to water quality protection, multi-use trail development and rural wastewater disposal. We hope the results will offer some guidance and inspiration for other communities as well,” said Humstone,

VNRC is continuing to accept applications to this program, on a rolling basis throughout the year. Groups with projects that advance smart growth are encouraged to apply – particularly those whose work advances land use, housing, and transportation goals. Visit http://vnrc.org/programs/sustainable-communities/small-grants-for-smart-growth/ and contact Kate McCarthy, Sustainable Communities Program Director, with any questions. kmccarthy@vnrc.org/ 223-2328, x. 114.