Better Places Partnership awards nearly $130,000 in grants for eight communities

Grants awarded to Barton, Ludlow, Middlesex, Northfield, Rutland, Springfield, White River Junction, and Wilmington.

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Community Foundation (VCF), the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), and the Better Places partners have awarded $129,275 to eight placemaking projects. These grants will help communities reimagine and reopen public spaces for safe dining, shopping, and recreation, while showcasing the state’s unique sense of place.

“Better Places grants are an important tool in our toolbox to help revitalize our communities as we recover from the pandemic,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I want to thank the Vermont Community Foundation, the National Life Foundation, the Vermont Arts Council, the Preservation Trust of Vermont, and the Vermont Department of Health for their work on this program as we support improvements in towns and villages across the state.”

“Public spaces can tell a story about our communities—they bring us together when accessible or leave us isolated when they aren’t,” says Vermont Community Foundation President and CEO Dan Smith. “The Community Foundation is committed to working with other state leaders to support projects that bring people together safely and contribute to the recovery and resilience of our economy, culture, and sense of connection.”

The pilot program received 63 applications representing 54 communities across the state from Canaan to Pownal and Alburgh to Brattleboro, requesting nearly $1 million in grant funds. The community-driven projects ranged from village green and park improvements, to public art installations, alley activations, community arts centers, music and performing arts series, as well as other grassroots projects that bring people together safely in public spaces.

The awarded projects include:

· Transforming an underutilized parking lot in White River Junction through visual art and outdoor film screenings

· Revitalizing Northfield’s town common by providing better lighting, public art, and outdoor seating

· Improving Center Street in Downtown Rutland to better serve pedestrians and local businesses

· Enhancing an old retaining wall through public art in Wilmington

· Creating additional outdoor gathering areas in Ludlow

· Developing walking paths and river overlooks in Middlesex

· Building an amphitheater to host local events at the community gardens in Barton

· Supporting a music series and infrastructure improvements at Comtu Cascades Park in downtown Springfield.

To learn more about these community-driven projects, please visit

About Better Places

The Better Places partnership is a place-based economic development program that revitalizes public spaces, empowers residents, supports local recovery efforts, and advances community-driven placemaking projects in Vermont’s downtowns and village centers.

The pilot program was supported and funded by Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Arts Council, the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the National Life Group Foundation, and the Vermont Department of Health. The Better Places program relies on the expertise and generous support from our cross-sector partners that includes the funding partners above and AARP-VT, Local Motion, Vermont Department of Transportation, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

To learn more about the Better Places program, please visit the program website at

Source: Montpelier, VT – Vermont Community Foundation 3.9.2021