Saturday December 15, 2012

BENNINGTON -- The town has been awarded an $8,000 municipal planning grant to conduct a housing study.

Bennington Economic and Community Development Director Michael Harrington said the town was notified this week of the grant from Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development. The grant requires no local match, he said.

The funding will determine the town's current housing stock, where gaps exist and how Bennington compares to other thriving towns. The town will contract the study out to the Bennington Country Regional Commission.

"I would assume that BCRC will start with the start of the new year or within a few weeks of the new year," Harrington said.

The study's results will help the town understand housing needs, Harrington said. "I'm a big believer in before we start making changes or start developing plans, we have to have our research done so we're not basing it on personal preference or anecdotal evidence," he said.

The need for workforce housing has been a recurring theme in discussions with employers. "The thing that keeps identifying itself are workforce development and workforce housing. Those keep coming up time and time again," Harrington said.

The study should help identify what workers' needs are in the area. "It's not just can we find them any old spot in the price range, but can we find something in the price range that meets their needs," he said.


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-- Neal P. Goswami

Self-storage thefts at a Safe Place

DORSET -- State police said they are investigating thefts from five storage units at Safe Place Storage. Police said the break-ins were reported Thursday at 8:30 a.m. by the business owner, Andrew Tarantino. He told police he believes the thefts occurred between Dec. 7 and Dec. 11.

Police said renters of the units are still being sought to determine what was stolen, but one victim reported the loss of sports equipment and tires. Anyone with information in the incident is asked to call Vermont State Police at 802-442-5421.