Economic Development

picture of local businessesEconomic and Community Development

Economic Development services are led by a partnership with the Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC) who contracts with the town to take a lead role in providing those services. Community Development is a type of economic development in its own right. The Community Development Office assists in the acquisition of community development block grants and other programs that are geared toward revitalization. The Town’s low interest loan program provides funding to low and moderate income families and rental units so that facilities can be maintained and kept up to code, and close partnerships with landlords and developers insure that quality housing is always available.

Municipal services within the town of Bennington include water and sewer, police and fire protection, highway maintenance, permits and planning, staff code enforcement and a number of community action groups. Bennington also boasts an active downtown center with a number of locally owned shops, and active infrastructure upgrades happen annually to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

In Bennington, small and family-owned businesses make up a majority of our commercial sector. The town’s natural geography allows for a vibrant downtown and a commercial corridor located between downtown and North Bennington to co-exist and complement each other.

The Office of Community Development (OCD) plays a key role in the municipality’s efforts to make Bennington an attractive place to live and do business. The OCD along with the BCRC provides support to both existing and prospective businesses in the form of advocacy, revolving loans, tax incentives and networking.

Bennington Revolving Loan Program

The Town’s Revolving Loan Fund was created in the 1970’s with remaining funds from grants from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that the town received for infrastructure projects and housing rehabilitations. 

The Town created the revolving loan program to encourage business and job growth within the community, particularly in our designated downtown. The program was designed to aid in the rehabilitation of historic downtown structures, and in the expansion, construction, and equipment needs for local businesses that were finding it difficult to acquire the necessary funding through the bank. 


Seven Reasons Why Bennington Is Great For Business

1. Proximity:
Located at the main intersection of Rt. 9 from Albany, NY to I91, and Rt. 7 from Connecticut to Canada, Bennington is primed for business attraction. Bennington’s location also provides an advantage that is rarely found in other states. Our small size allows for the creation of close relationships with local, state and federal lawmakers.

  • Albany, NY = 40 mi.
  • Boston, MA = 150 mi.
  • New York City = 182 mi.
  • Montreal, QC = 230 mi.
Bennington also has a designated Opportunity Zone. Download the 2019 Opportunity Zone Prospectus.

2. Transportation: Bennington’s landscape provides for rail freight, air and highway transportation, and with a local air facility and Albany International Airport less than an hour away, professionals can travel internationally with ease. In addition, public transportation allows for commuting to and from work and occasional trips throughout the region.

3. Incentives: Even though Vermont is a small state, it packs a big punch. Local and State incentive programs provide support to new and existing companies in a number of different ways. Vermont is the only US State that has a state-wide EB5 program which is designed to allow international investors to secure visas in exchange for investments made in the United States. Bennington is also identified as a foreign trade zone allowing for easier shipping of materials outside the U.S.
Specific incentive programs include:

  • Tax Stabilization
  • Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI)
  • State and federal grants
  • Low interest loan programs
  • Private investment opportunities
  • State-wide EB5
  • Foreign Trade Zone
4. Workforce: With 4 colleges, a career development center, and a high school that is focused on the practical application of skills learned, Bennington has identified workforce development as one of its top priorities. Current efforts have assisted our composites cluster in the creation of a local technicians program and the national need for skilled nurses has resulted in the development of advanced nursing programs.
5. Shovel Ready: With premium commercial and industrial space readily available, potential investors will have no problem identifying a location that fits the needs of their specific industry. Available properties in town include land in the Morse Industrial Park, the Maneely Industrial Park, space in three significant shopping centers, and our historic downtown. The majority of these sites are shovel ready if not ready for immediate occupancy and for companies looking to build; efforts have been made to streamline the permitting process Map Of Vermontwith pre-zoned locations.

6. Lifestyle: Located in a state that prides itself on outdoor engagement, Bennington offers residents and visitors the opportunity to experience nature up close. With a community recreation center, bike trails and significant byways program, it is easy to find yourself in town enjoying our small businesses or on a back road touring our covered bridges. Bennington is also the home of the Bennington Battle Monument, commemorating a pivotal battle in the revolutionary war, and is located in the Green Mountain National Forest which encompasses more than 400,000 acres.

7. Entertainment: One doesn’t have to go far to find the artistic attributes of this community. With a significant art presence in the downtown, individuals can easily walk from one gallery to the next. This walking community would not be what it is without some cornerstones in our community. These include: the Bennington Museum, the Bennington Center for the Arts, the Vermont Arts Exchange and Oldcastle Theatre Company.

TIF – Tax Increment Financing:

Micro Business Development Program
There is a Micro Business Development Program offered through the Bennington Rutland Opportunity Council (BROC) that assists moderate to low income Vermonters start a small business (5 or fewer employees including owners). The program provides advice, business plans, and financial counseling (personal and business).

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