Three Windham County development organizations are asking for $2.3 million in state aid to deal with the impact of Vermont Yankee’s closing.
The request came at a joint hearing in Vernon held by the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Economic Development.
The groups presented lawmakers with a set of strategies for rebuilding a regional economy that they say is already in decline.
Pat Moulton-Powden is with one of the groups, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. She said the strategies were in the works before Entergy announced its plan to shut the nuclear reactor down in December 2014.
Moulton-Powden said the announcement made the situation more urgent.
The groups’ requests include staff to manage and advance various projects and initiatives.
“We need some marketing moneys to attract more tourists more talent, more businesses to the area, a redevelopment director who can help us inventory and move forward with filling up some vacant buildings that we have throughout the region. We want some dollars so that if there are some VY employees that want to start their own business, can we provide some seed capital. We don’t want them to leave. We need them to be part of this work force,” Moulton Powden said.
Martin Langeveld, a Vernon resident, is with Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies, another regional development group.
Langeveld said the state has a responsibility to the region that hosted Vermont’s only nuclear plant.
“For years taxes paid by Vermont Yankee have funded a variety of beneficial programs throughout the state. Now it’s time to return some of that investment directly to Windham County so that we can begin to build a new post VY economy in this region,” Langeveld said.
The regional groups have also presented their plans and requests to the Shumlin Administration.