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The project to renovate the Benn Hi building on Main Street in Bennington will receive federal ARPA funding, according to Gov. Phil Scott.

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MANCHESTER — Gov. Phil Scott’s office officially announced that Manchester’s plans for a water and sewer line extension on Main Street is among 31 projects receiving federal COVID recovery grant funds through a state program.

The grant, worth $603,776 for a project estimated at $3,018,880, is one of three Bennington County projects receiving funds from the Community Recovery and Revitalization Program (CRRP).

The Bennington High School project was awarded $500,000, and the Bennington Museum will receive $36,944 for roofing and HVAC repairs. In all, the state announced 31 projects and $10,328,196 in grant funding supporting $153,515,054 in total project costs.

The funding comes from American Rescue Plan Act funds received by the state and allocated through the Scott administration and the Vermont Legislature.

Hale Resources LLC is repurposing the Bennington High School building for housing, recreation, and social services, in a project costing an estimated $5.7 million. Plans for the Main Street building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, include 70,000 square feet of potential residential space with 37 housing units, including 15 dedicated to affordable housing,

Bennington Museum will receive $36,944 for roofing repair and heating ventilation and cooling repairs, work costing an estimated $184,720.

Last year, Manchester sought but did not receive grant funding that would have helped build out the sewer line extension from Cemetery Road north to Hunter Park Road. A second plan, in which the town would borrow from a town sewer department capital fund to build the first phase, fell through when bids came in well above the estimated cost.

But the town went back to the drawing board and added the extension of water and sewer service to the Manchester Mobile Home Park as part of the project, which also is intended to provide wastewater service to existing and potential housing development on Main Street.

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The mobile home park has its own well and a grandfathered septic system that would not be allowed under current regulations, and town officials and owner James Dayo welcomed the addition as protecting the residents from a septic tank or well failure.

Interim Town Manager Leslie Perra said the plans are being reviewed by Christine Haskins of the Dufresne Group, the town’s contracted engineer, and will be advertised for a request for proposals shortly. It’s hoped the work can begin in April at the earliest, but more likely May.

Perra also said the town inquired as to whether the project would require review under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) or the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires prevailing wages be paid for labor on projects receiving federal funding. She said the town was advised that neither law applies in this case.

According to a news release, the program is intended to help fund projects that spur economic recovery and revitalization. Eligible uses include capital improvements related to the renovation or creation of childcare and affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households, capital projects that assist nonprofits and small businesses in industries most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and municipal water supply and wastewater projects that build housing or create jobs through business creation and expansion.

The 31 projects are expected to support 354 existing jobs and enable the creation of 205 new jobs, 79 new affordable housing units, and 196 new childcare slots for low- to moderate-income families, the announcement said. The awards are spread across 12 counties, with priority given to four projects supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and 16 projects in towns with stagnant or declining property grand lists.

Scott said the awards reflect his administration’s focus on economic recovery and increasing economic equity in all regions of the state, as well as “smart investments that will have a lasting impact.”

“These grants will help businesses and organizations critical to their communities continue to recover and grow, increasing critical support like housing, childcare, and wastewater to more Vermonters,” Scott said.

“This first wave of approved applications represents projects that will provide assistance to households, help businesses in impacted industries to recover, and strengthen communities throughout the state,” Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein said. “We look forward to announcing additional approved projects in the coming weeks and will continue to review applications until the funding is depleted.”

Reach Greg Sukiennik at or at

802-447-7567, ext. 119.

Greg Sukiennik has worked at all three Vermont News & Media newspapers and was their managing editor from 2017-19. He previously worked for, for the AP in Boston, and at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass.


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