Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail in Sheldon, 5-5-2019

Sheldon was one of four towns in Franklin County to receive a state planning grant, with funding intended to support walkability planning and tapping into the two rail trails that intersect in the town.

BERLIN, Vt. – Four Franklin County towns were among the 31 cities and towns that will receive planning grants for their communities.

Fairfield was awarded $10,880 for work on the town plan and addressing changes facing the community.

In Fairfax, the town will be using $16,550 to help bring zoning regulations for residential areas into alignment with the 2018 town plan.

Highgate received $12,845 to coordinate a local steering committee to assist with wastewater feasibility study for Highgate Center funded by the Agency of Natural Resources.

Sheldon will be using the $8,718 it received to “identify priority actions to improve walkability in the town’s designated villages and capitalize on the recreational and economic opportunities of the Lamoille and Missisquoi Valley Rail Trails,” according to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, which oversees the planning grant program.

Overall, the state issued municipal planning grants worth $468,552, Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday.

He made the announcement in Berlin, which is working to create a new, mixed-use and walkable town center in the area encompassing the Berlin Mall and the Central Vermont Medical Center. Neighboring Middlesex and Waitsfield are also pursuing projects to create lively, walkable and economically vibrant town centers.

“Reinforcing town and village centers is critical to growing our economy,” Scott said.

Other municipal grants awarded will fund a wide range of projects in municipalities large and small throughout Vermont, including a study to resolve the childcare shortage in Randolph, evaluating the potential for a multi-town fire department in and around St. Johnsbury, and recovering from the loss of Green Mountain College in Poultney. Several towns will use grants to revise zoning regulations and take other steps to improve local housing opportunities.

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