Gov. Peter Shumlin was in Brattleboro Friday to name the recipients of the first $2 million in economic development funds from Entergy Vermont Yankee. In a settlement with the state a year ago, Entergy pledged $10 million over five years to help Windham County bounce back after the plant closes later this month.
But in a surprise announcement, the governor said less than half the available funds will be awarded in the current round. The rest will be added to next year’s $2 million payment from Entergy. Out of 24 proposals submitted, five were selected for a total of $814,000 in grants or loans.
Shumlin said most of the proposals didn’t create the kinds of new opportunities the region will need after the loss of hundreds of high paying jobs at Vermont Yankee.
"As I reviewed the applications,” Shumlin said, “I felt that they weren’t transformational enough in terms of growing jobs that we have right here now or bringing jobs to Windham County that we otherwise would not get."
The governor says his the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, which administers the fund, will revamp the application process to encourage creative partnerships and attract new capital and ideas.
The projects that were selected for funding include the cleanup and redevelopment of an industrial site in Bellows falls, a business plan competition, an enterprise that promotes the use of local timber for prefab building, and a plan to connect the region’s green building expertise and activity.