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Southern Vermont Zone Economic Development District Proposal

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The Southern Vermont Economic Development District (EDD) is a proposed multi-jurisdictional non-profit entity, recognized at the local, state and federal levels, which will lead planning and development of the Southern Vermont Zone Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and coordinate funding and implementation for locally based and regionally driven economic development capacity and projects within the Southern Vermont Zone. 

A CEDS is a coordinating mechanism for individuals, organizations, local governments, and private industry to engage in development of the 5 year plan through public conversation and debate about the economic direction of the region.


How - and why - Southern Vermont's Economic Development District formed

Windham and Bennington County journey to revitalize, repopulate, and grow the Southern Vermont economy and population.

2008 - 2014 Demographics, disaster and disinvestment

  • broadband

  • fires

  • floods

  • nuclear closure

  • aging demographic

  • declining workforce

  • 2014 Windham CEDS

2015 - 2019
State of Vermont designates Zone

  • Entergy Settlement

  • Committee & Report

  • SeVEDS and BCRC

  • 2019 CEDS

2016 - present
Growing collaboration and implementation work

  • Collaborative workforce programs

  • Annual Summit

  • SVEP

  • COVID-19 recovery

  • Immigration, refugee and asylee focus

Establishing the Southern Vermont Zone as a federally recognized Economic Development District is the nextstep in Southern Vermont's Grassroots efforts >> growing regional capacity >> formalizing development and implementation services 

What Qualifies the SoVermont Zone to be an Economic Development District?

Federal Requirements:

To request designation as an Economic Development Districts (EDD), an applicant must have an EDA-approved CEDS and at least one geographical area within the designated service boundaries that meets EDA’s regional distress criteria as set out in 13 CFR § 301.3(a). EDDs are designed to represent multi-county areas so entities that request designation should be able to serve and represent the entire geographic area of the region. The requirements set out in 13 CFR parts 303 and 304 must be met and all necessary documentation outlined.

Distress Criteria:

(a) Part 305 (Public Works and Economic Development Investments) and part 307 (Economic Adjustment Assistance Investments).

(1) Except as otherwise provided by this paragraph (a), for a Project to be eligible for Investment Assistance under parts 305 or 307 of this chapter, the Project must be located in a Region that, on the date EDA receives an application for Investment Assistance, is subject to one or more of the following economic distress criteria:

(i) An unemployment rate that is, for the most recent 24-month period for which data are available, at least one percentage point greater than the national average unemployment rate;

(ii) Per capita income that is, for the most recent period for which data are available, 80 percent or less of the national average per capita income; or

(iii) A Special Need, as determined by EDA.

Once the appropriate documents are compiled, they must be coupled with a regional office-developed summary of the requested designation, including the name of the organization requesting the designation, and rationale for the regional office’s recommendation and include this in the EDD designation package (for regional and HQ reviews). The summary must be completed based on a thorough review of the designation request. For more information about EDD designation requirements, contact your regional office.

Geographic Area of the Zone:

The Zone is made up of the forty-four towns connected within the two county boundary of the Windham Regional Commission and the Bennington Regional Commission.

In Vermont, Regional Planning Commissions are political subdivisions of the State created by their member municipalities (24 VSA §4341).  RPCs provide technical assistance to municipalities, and since Vermont does not have county governments, RPCs act as a link between municipal affairs and state government. RPCs work in fields that directly and indirectly affect the public at large: land use, transportation, housing, economic development, environmental quality, and more. []

Zone Municipalities:

Arlington, Athens, Bennington, Brattleboro, Brookline, Dorset, Dover, Dummerston, Glastonbury, Guilford, Grafton, Halifax, Jamaica, Landgrove, Londonderry, Manchester, Manchester Village, Marlboro, Newfane, North Bennington, Peru, Putney, Pownal, Readsboro, Rockingham, Rupert, Sandgate, Searsburg, Shafsbury, Somerset, Stratton, Sunderland, Stamford, Sunderland, Townsend, Vernon, Wardsboro, Westminster, Weston, Whitingham, Wilmington, Winhall, Windham, Woodford

SoVermont CEDS Completed 2019-2024

Capacity to Implement the EDA-approved CEDS


5-Year Distress Criteria 2020

We are seeking designation of the SoVermont Zone as an Economic Development District. All 41 towns in the Zone are included in the 2019 SoVermontZone CEDS.


Ten of our 41 towns qualify as distressed with per capita income that is 80 percent or less of the national average per capita income according to the 2017-2021 ACS 5-Year Estimates Data Profiles which show U.S. per capita income of 37,638 and 80% qualifying amount of 30,110

; Searsburg Town $19,462.00, Putney Town $25,644.00, Woodford Town $26,267.00, Whitingham Town $27,283.00, Bennington Town $28,318.00, Halifax Town $28,365.00,

Brattleboro Town $29,348.00, Rupert Town $29,721.00, Rockingham Town $29,816.00, Readsboro Town $29,897.00.


In addition 7 census tracts have per capita income that is 80 percent or less of the national average per capita income according to the 2017-2021 ACS 5-Year Estimates Data Profiles: Census Tract 9709, Bennington County, Vermont (NE Bennington), Census Tract 9710, Bennington County, Vermont (Wn Bennington), Census Tract 9712, Bennington County, Vermont (Cen Bennington), Census Tract 9670, Windham County, Vermont (Bellows Falls), Census Tract 9685, Windham County, Vermont (DT Brattleboro), Census Tract 9677, Windham County, Vermont (Putney), Census Tract 9681, Windham County, Vermont (Whitingham).

Resources & Data
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