The BCRC maintains a program in community and economic development that focuses on identification and improvement of local assets to support the prosperity and resilience of communities in the region. Areas of focus include but are not limited to: business retention and growth, workforce development, housing, education, healthy communities, local food systems, downtowns, energy and natural resources, and arts and culture. The commission’s work is coordinated with efforts of municipalities and other regional organizations. The commission works to foster cooperation among communities within the region while also reaching out to neighboring regions in southern Vermont. Data, mapping, strategic planning, and grant-writing assistance is available to support general economic development, workforce development, infrastructure improvements, growth center designations, and other projects.
The following objectives help direct the commission’s work toward developing a vibrant and sustainable regional economy:
- Identify and develop local resources and assets that support a good quality of life and economic prosperity in all of the communities in the Bennington Region.
- Ensure that communities are positioned to be resilient when confronted by changing and challenging natural or economic conditions.
- Develop and maintain efforts to strengthen local economies while promoting communication and cooperation with communities and market areas in nearby regions and states.
- Protect and foster wise development of key natural resources, including: agricultural land, forest resources, renewable energy (wind, water, sun, geothermal), and scenic rural landscapes.
- Create strong local food systems that provide an increasing share of locally consumed food.
- Expand the availability and use of sustainable transportation modes and systems: pedestrian, bicycle, buses, electric vehicle infrastructure, and trains (freight and passenger).
- Maximize the potential for community’s human resources through targeted education, workforce development, and related services that benefit both businesses and employees.
- Protect and enhance historic downtowns and village centers that provide convenient and accessible services while making communities unique.
- Provide a sufficient quantity of good housing in downtowns, village centers, and surrounding dense residential neighborhoods.
- Support development of recreational and cultural resources and opportunities that can be enjoyed by residents and which make communities attractive to visitors and businesses.