Vermont Natural Resources Council seeks applicants for smart growth grants

The Vermont Natural Resources Council is seeking applications for its 2018 Small Grants for Smart Growth Program that provides seed money for community-based, local initiatives.

Grants are targeted to projects that include advocacy for better land use through municipal planning, regulations, or advocacy in the permit process. They also fund initiatives in the following areas provided they relate to smart growth: transportation, housing, conservation including agriculture and forestry; historic preservation; downtown and/or village center development or revitalization.

“For more than 50 years, VNRC has been working with communities … to promote smart growth opportunities in Vermont,” said VNRC Executive Director Brian Shupe. “We know that a little money can go a long way to help host a public meeting, pay for an informational letter, or kick start a planning process that helps a community have a valuable conversation about smart development.”

Shupe credited former VNRC Board Chair Beth Humstone and her son, Chris Gignoux, with the idea for the grants.

Humstone also co-founded the Vermont Forum on Sprawl with the late John Ewing. The organization eventually became Smart Growth Vermont, which merged in 2011 with VNRC. This fund will continue Humstone’s goal of supporting smart growth in Vermont communities.

Humstone said people working at the local level can have the biggest impact on their communities. “I believe these grants will help catalyze communities and citizens around the state to revitalize village and urban centers, provide housing for all citizens, promote pedestrian, bicycle and public transit access, and enhance the rural countryside for farming, forestry and conservation,” she said.

Grants likely will range from $500 to $1,500 per project, VNRC said. Local or multi-town entities, nonprofit organizations, and citizen groups working with a nonprofit are encouraged to apply.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with review beginning in March. For more information visit: vnrc.org/smallgrantssmartgrowth18.

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