Bennington’s Putnam Block Project Garners Support
The Citizens for a Greater Bennington (CFGB), in partnership with Preservation Trust of Vermont (PTV) and the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC), are pleased to announce a $100,000 grant to support the Putnam Block Redevelopment Project, a community-led development of downtown offices, residences, restaurants and retail. The civic leaders of Bennington together with the town, state and key tenants are providing the investments and commitment to ensure its success. The CFGB Grant will be made through the Southwestern Vermont Hospital Foundation, and will leverage an additional $100,000 contribution from the Bank of Bennington.
Meg Campbell, Bennington resident and co-founder of the Citizens Group, says, “Thirteen years ago when we organized the community around our concerns for the Wal-Mart expansion and its impact on downtown, I never could have imagined that we would one day be in a position to support the most significant development project Bennington has seen in over 50 years. I’m thrilled to be among the committed citizens and institutions of Bennington that are eager to see this project happen.”
Brian Shupe, executive director of the Vermont Natural Resources and also an essential partner says, “For more than 50 years VNRC has worked to support compact development in and around Vermont’s downtowns as a way to support local merchants and provide an alternative to commercial strip development. The Putnam Block project is a great example of the type of compact, mixed-use redevelopment that Vermont communities need, and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revitalize downtown Bennington.”
Paul Bruhn, executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont and an essential organizational partner adds, “This is an incredible opportunity, the most important project that has been proposed in downtown Bennington in years, and it is impressive that all of the significant institutions in the community have come together to support downtown Bennington. They understand the importance of downtown, and their investment and their commitment is what is really making this effort possible.”
The CFGB funds are the direct result of a Settlement Agreement reached with the developer BLS Bennington LC in the permitting process for the expansion of the Bennington Wal-mart. According to the settlement, BLS Bennington LC will provide a total of $200,000 for programs and projects to support the economic vitality of downtown Bennington, and $20,000 for programs and projects to maintain, enhance or restore streams and rivers within the Walloomsac River Watershed. This grant represents half of the total funds awarded for downtown economic vitality.