Brattleboro Reformer Article
Monday December 24, 2012
WILMINGTON — The Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce received a grant award on Wednesday that will help complete a parking lot project in Wilmington as well gather data for economic development in the valley.
“We learned of the grant and then immediately set about finding a partner with matching dollars that could act fairly quickly,” Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Adam Grinold said.
The Chamber of Commerce needed a partner that could put together the money in two or three weeks before the deadline. With a shortage of time, Grinold approached the Wilmington Fund board about applying for this grant through the State of Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.
Although, the Wilmington Fund board doesn’t usually go about projects on such short notice, its members thought the goal was worthwhile.
“They were very receptive of what we’re trying to do. We came at them from out of nowhere. This isn’t really their model of how to do things, but we explained that this is an opportunity, ‘If we have matching dollars, we can double our money.’”
The Wilmington Fund board wanted to put its money toward the completing a parking area behind the shopping district.
The board was very supportive, Grinold said, and it wanted to see the application get awarded, although the chamber is valleywide.
The Chamber of Commerce was trying to get more funding to study economic development in the Deerfield Valley. Its main job is to gather data for the entire valley.
“We’re trying to be able to provide potential businesses with some collateral information on what the demographics are.”
Grinold gave the Reformer specific examples of things a potential business owner would want to know when evaluating the business model in the valley. The list included getting traffic counts, rooms and meals receipts, tax receipts, a bed count in the valley and the ratios of second-homes to hotels to condominiums.
“Anything that we as a chamber had, went down the river with Irene. We need to rebuild that information. It’s something you need to stay on top of. The freshness of that data is very important.”
The chamber and the Wilmington Fund board worked together on filling out the grant application.
The board wanted to put $10,000 towards completing the parking lot behind the Sotheby’s International Realty and Pickwells Barn buildings, which was redone in the summer. Lighting for the lot is mostly what is left in terms of work to be done, which will be funded by this grant.
Its location has Riverwalk Trail going right through it. In the future, the Valley Trail, which starts in Dover, is slated to eventually meet the Riverwalk Trail.
The remaining $10,000, which comes from the state, is going to go towards data collection and producing a comprehensive report from that information.
The data will be helpful for gaining insight into marketing plans for businesses in the Deerfield Valley. It will be for potential businesses looking for a spot in the area, too.
A video will also be produced, “to highlight attributes of owning businesses in the valley and attracting new businesses,” Grinold said.
The ceremony was held at the State House in Montpelier. Senator Hartwell attended the event, who has been crucial to helping Vermont rebuild its economy after Irene. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott was there as well.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.