Safe Routes to School in Central Vermont

We are about to start our third year of participating in the VTrans Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS). The SRTS program is funded by 100% federal transportation funds and is intended to result in greater numbers of students who walk and bike to school. In the first two years Barre Town, Montpelier, Northfield, and Williamstown participated, resulting in pedestrian and bicycle safety education, contests and incentives to encourage walking and bicycling, engaging law enforcement, and evaluation of student/parent attitudes and behavior, and assessing the existing condition of streets and sidewalks around schools. All the schools recieved bike racks, and some of the schools were awarded signage and crosswalk improvements.

In year three, Duxbury, Moretown, Warren, and Waterbury were awarded grants to enter the program. CVRPC will be helping them get started on their School Travel Plans, conducting traffic counts, and provide mapping. We are also conducting sidewalk studies for Barre Town, Northfield, and Williamstown, to put them a good position to apply for infrastructure grants. The next round of planning and infrastructure grants will begin early next year. If you are interested in this program, contact Steve Gladczuk, CVRPC Senior Transportation Planner at 229-0389 or gladczuk@cvregion.com. More information can also be found at the VTrans website www.aot.state.vt.us/progdev/Sections/LTF/SRTS/VTSRTS.htm

Wrightsville Beach Open for Labor Day Weekend!

Well, it looks like summer finally made it to Vermont. Better late than never! Why not celebrate summer’s last “official” weekend at the Wrightsville Beach Day Use Area? The forecast is for sun and 80 degree temperatures, the water is still warm, and the Beach offers a variety of recreation choices, including swimming, picnicking, trails, and canoe/kayak rentals. The setting is serene and beautiful.

The Beach is operated by a unique governmental entity called an Intermunicipal Recreation District, comprised of memeber municipalities, including Montpelier, Middlesex, East Montpelier and Worcester. CVRPC helped organize the District 25 years ago and we remain active in providing its governing board with administrative asssistance.

The Beach is located off Route 12 in Middlesex. If you’ve never been there, check it out. If you have, you don’t need to be convinced. For more info on the Beach: http://www.central-vt.com/web/wrights/index.html. A bigger and better website is under construction at www.wrightvillebeachvt.com. Look for us soon at that address!

First Pitch

Welcome to CVRPC’s brand new blog site! Why a blog? Because planning in Vermont is a dynamic world, moving too fast for regional plans, annual reports or quarterly newsletters to keep pace. It seems that everyday some new information, opportunity or challenge comes to light. Whether it’s a new grant program, traffic count data, FEMA flood map updates, or a big development proposal, the planner’s “landscape” is constantly changing. This blog will allow CVRPC staff to keep you up to date and well informed. Plus, we get to put our two cents into the conversation! We will be posting regularly on a variety of planning related topics (and maybe, occasionally, some that aren’t). We look forward to hearing from you, as well. Please visit and post your comments regularly. Ciao for now.

Community Development Grants

The next round of Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) grant applications has just begun. Applications are due by November 4, 2008 with a hearing notice required to be published by October 15. VCDP requires that all applications be filed online and you can view the application and instructions at www.dhca.state.vt.us/VCDP/Application. All municipalities are eligible to apply and consortiums of 2 or more municipalities are encouraged. VCDP’s highest priorities continue to be housing and economic development that will create jobs.

These grants are funded with U.S. Housing and Urban Development funds, and hence, have a national objective that must be met. Those objectives include: serving persons of low and moderate income (the most important benefit); eliminating slums or blighted conditions; and alleviating an urgent need such as an immediate threat to the health and welfare of a community. Only one national objective has to be met with each grant application.

The types of projects include: housing rehabilitation and acquisition, lead abatement, and home ownership assistance; economic development loans to businesses that will result in job creation; water, sewer, or road improvements serving economic development or housing; rehabilitation or acquisition of public facilities, or senior, child care, assisted living, or homeless facilities; handicap accessibility modifications (which require a $1 for $1 match); planning; and disaster assistance.

Additional information on the types of grants funded, match requirements, and the minimum and maximum amounts available can be found on the web site listed above. If CVRPC can be of assistance, please contact us. Laurie Emery

Municipal Planning Grants – 2008

The Municipal Planning Grant application process for 2008 will be done solely online through the Intelligrant/online process. Any municipality that wants to apply for these planning funds will have to do so through the online process at www.dhca.state.vt.us/Planning/MPG.htm. The online application is not yet active, but will be as of September 2. At that point, you will be able to go the site and click on “online application” and get started. However, and this is a very important however, the town will need to identify the “authorizing official” or AO. This person will “sign,” or in the online world, “send” all
application pages, forms, etc once they have been completed. It would be best to have the AO be the town administrator, manager, or executive assistant where there is one. Otherwise the AO will have to be a Selectboard member or the mayor. The town clerk, treasurer , or any staff that would be paid by the grant cannot be the AO; nor can any staff member of a non-municipal entity be the AO.

Here’s the MPG schedule as it appears now. A town that wants to apply for a Municipal Planning Grant must be confirmed (which requires that the town plan be approved by the regional commission) by September 30. All MPG applications will be due October 31. A single town can apply for up to $15,000; a consortium can apply for up to $25,000. Award decisions will be made in December 2008 and grant work can then proceed once any final forms are filed; again, online.

In about 2 weeks (September 2 or so), the user manual for the online application will be available online. It will be on the website cited above and it will be e-mailed to regional planning commissions. CVRPC will e-mail this document to you so that your staff or person preparing the application can have a paper copy to use as a guide. On September 2, the online application will be available and the AO will have to register and then be validated by the Intelligrant system so that the AO can then validate anyone who is going to write or edit the MPG application. The online application is streamlined and so where there used to be redundancy, there will not be. One key point to remember is that the online application will “time” itself out after 30 minutes if it is idle, so save and save often to avoid losing your work.

The grant criteria are pretty much the same as in the past: up to 15 points for an application that is complete, concise, realistic, and describes a clearly defined project; 20 points for a realistic work plan and budget; 20 points for clear linkage to the municipal plan; 15 points for citizen participation, partnerships, and outreach; and 30 points for projects that meet Statewide priorities (update municipal plan, update bylaws to be in conformance with the municipal plan and statute, or studies or activities related to growth center designation or for VT Neighborhood designation).

CVRPC staff is here to assist in any way we can. If the planning commission is thinking of applying for funds, now would be a good time to organize the project so the application process goes smoothly next month! Contact Chris Walsh, Clare Rock, or Laurie Emery with questions, concerns, ideas, etc.