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Vermont Rural Ventures: Reflecting on 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019

Community members celebrate the start of construction

2018 was an exciting and productive year for Vermont Rural Ventures!

As you may recall, at the beginning of last year, Vermont Rural Ventures received a $60 million award of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) allocation – VRV’s fifth and largest award.  This award allowed us to expand our successful community and economic investment into Vermont’s regional economies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York – and create impactful benefits for low-income communities and/or persons of low-income in and across the borders of Vermont.

Since the award was announced, VRV provided NMTC financing to three important developments: the Greater Burlington YMCA in Burlington, Vermont; Lancaster Patient Care Center in Lancaster, New Hampshire; and Way Finders in Springfield, Massachusetts.  We also celebrated the grand opening of Chroma Technology Corporation’s expanded facility in Bellows Falls, Vermont.

Through these three closings, NMTC financing brought in a combined $15.3 million of capital that would not otherwise have been available for these low-income communities and people.

“Expanded services, critical child care and new jobs as a result of our NMTC financing will dramatically improve the lives of persons with low-incomes in Burlington, Lancaster, and Springfield, bringing greater opportunities to those who need them most. VRV is pleased to be part of these important community endeavors,” said Beth Boutin, VP for Community Investments.

Since receiving our first award in 2009, VRV has created favorable NMTC financing in excess of $163 million for 19 economic development projects in low-income communities.  An application is pending with the U.S. Department of Treasury CDFI Fund for the next round of credits in 2019 and a robust pipeline of critical community and economic development projects await for 2019.

Read on to find out more about our work in 2018:

In early December the Greater Burlington YMCA celebrated the construction start of its new 52,700 square foot facility at 298 College Street in Burlington, Vermont. The $26.7 million project used NMTC allocation from three-Community Development Entity partners, VRV, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, and US Bank Community Development Corporation.  This collective allocation brought in over $7 million in NMTC equity for the investment!

The new Y’s home will be fully accessible with new fitness and aquatics space.   In addition, 50 critical new infant/toddler child care spaces will be created for the community. We are excited for the opportunity this investment brings.  Look for its grand opening early next year!!

Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster, New Hampshire, is a nonprofit Critical Access Hospital serving Essex County in Vermont and Coos County in New Hampshire with both inpatient and outpatient medical care. Its NMTC-financed Lancaster Patient Care Center will offer increased, enhanced and accessible outpatient specialty services, improved privacy and primary care services – and help the hospital to attract and retain top health care providers in the medically-underserved region.    “The new Lancaster Patient Care Center will have a dramatic influence on the healthcare of our community, but we’re also aware of the significant impact the new building will have on our region’s economy,” said Mike Lee, President of Weeks Medical Center. “The jobs created locally during construction, and the jobs created once the new Patient Care Center opens, will impact the economy of the North Country in very positive ways and will have lasting effects for years to come.”  VRV’s NMTC allocation provided $4 million in equity for the new patient care center!

Way Finders is a nonprofit housing and community development organization located in Springfield, Massachusetts. Since its creation in 1972 as an experimental rental housing assistance program, it has grown and developed innovative approaches to combat homelessness, increase the supply of safe, stable, affordable housing, encourage economic mobility, and help people purchase their first homes.

As Way Finders continues to expand in both size and scope of services, it is developing a new Housing Center and Headquarters in downtown Springfield. This new facility will allow Way Finders to more effectively deliver its services to more people and will catalyze downtown development in an underserved community that state and local officials have targeted for several transformative redevelopment initiatives.  The combined NMTC allocation from three-Community Development Entity partners, VRV, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, and Capital One, brought in over $4.1 million of equity for the investment!

Located in the village of Bellows Falls in Rockingham, Vermont, Chroma Technology, a local optical filter manufacturer that distributes its product all over the world, celebrated the completion of a $22 million expansion that will add 25 new jobs and retain its existing 113 jobs.

Chroma is not only one of Rockingham’s largest employers but is an employee-owned company, meaning that every employee is a Chroma shareholder with a generous salary and benefit package.

VRV’s NMTC allocation allowed Chroma to continue to operate in Bellows Falls.  Prior to the expansion, the growing manufacturer had been struggling to increase capacity in its existing space.  Congratulations to Chroma and its development partner, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation!