More than 28 applications came in for a new grant that the state is offering to help grow outdoor recreation and economic development.
Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) announced this week that the Town of Randolph and the City of Newport are the first two recipients of the VOREC Community grants to help grow their local economies by promoting outdoor recreation. The program, which was proposed by the Governor based on VOREC recommendations and passed by the Legislature in 2018, awards grants of $10,000 to $100,000 to help Vermont communities fully leverage their local outdoor recreation assets to become “outdoor recreation friendly.”
“This program helps make major recreation projects attainable for communities with support from a diverse group of local experts,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Congratulations to Randolph, Newport and all the communities who applied for recognizing the value of outdoor recreation to the economy, public health and the environment, making Vermont such a special place to live, work and play.”
Randolph will receive $65,000 for marketing and events, trail design and construction projects and trailhead amenities, in partnership with the Rochester-Randolph Area Sports Trail Alliance (RASTA), as part of the Randolph Outdoor Recreation Development Project. Newport will receive $35,000 for a critical trail connection project between Prouty Beach and Bluffside Farm as part of the city’s Waterfront Recreation Trail and Lake Access project. The winning communities will serve as prototypes for other recreation-oriented cities and towns seeking to expand their economies.
“These communities are close to the finish line with exciting and meaningful recreation projects, and this grant gives them the extra boost they need,” said VOREC Chair and Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Michael Snyder. “And what’s truly special about this program is that it supports the outdoor recreation economy while maintaining environmental stewardship as a core value of any project.”
The grant selection committee included members of the VOREC steering committee and stakeholders from the business, environmental, planning and community development backgrounds, as well as staff from the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Winners were chosen based on their existing assets and capacity, environmental stewardship, community support, regional connectivity, economic and community need and business networks.
“In rural communities around Vermont, attracting visitors to outdoor recreation destinations is vital to the local economy of the region,” said VOREC Vice-chair and Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing Wendy Knight. “These grants support Vermonters who are finding new ways to spur economic growth in their towns.”
For more information about VOREC and the VOREC Community Grant Program, visit fpr.vermont.gov/vorec(link is external).