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Vermont Introduces “Better Places,” a New Partnership to Build Vibrant and Welcoming Public Places Through Community-Led Placemaking Grants

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Community Foundation, and Patronicity announced today the launch of Better Places, a statewide program that empowers Vermonters to create and build vibrant and inclusive public places in the hearts of Vermont communities. This innovative partnership provides residents the opportunity to use crowdfunding to develop strategic, locally led projects in their communities and be supported with a 2:1 matching grant from the State.

“The Better Places program provides municipalities and nonprofits with funding for community-driven projects in our downtowns and village centers,” said Governor Scott. “These grants will help increase activity at local shops, restaurants, and other small businesses in all corners of Vermont.”

The Better Places program provides one-on-one project coaching, local fundraising support, and matching grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 to advance community-led placemaking efforts that create, revitalize, or activate public spaces. Whether communities are dreaming for more parks and green spaces, a vibrant main street, colorful public art projects, community gardens, or cultural events, Better Places grants can help turn these ideas into reality.

“At the heart of economic development is creating places where people want to be, spend time, belong, and thrive,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle. “The Better Places program will help communities create and revitalize public places to build new economic opportunities for residents and visitors. From public art to pop-up parks to outdoor seating, we’re excited to support community-driven placemaking efforts that add vibrancy, social life, and pride to Vermont’s communities.”

In December of 2020, the Better Places pilot program was launched, and the state’s program partners invested $130,000 dollars into eight collaborative projects around the state. With the success of the pilot program, the Vermont Legislature allocated $1.5 million for the formal launch of this program.

“The Better Places pilot program was key to strengthening collaboration between the arts, community development leaders, Vermont-based funders, and local leaders, and has led to transformative investments in Vermont with wide-ranging benefits to our health, economy, and social connections,” said Vermont Community Foundation’s CEO and President Dan Smith. “We are thrilled to continue this Partnership that helps empower local leaders to create more welcoming public places in the heart of their communities.”

About Better Places

Better Places is a community matching grant program empowering Vermonters to create inclusive and vibrant public places serving Vermont’s designated downtowns, village centers, new town centers, or neighborhood development areas. The program is led by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health, the Vermont Community Foundation, and Patronicity, our crowdfunding experts. The program supports community-led projects that create, revitalize, or activate community gathering areas that bring people together to build welcoming and thriving places across Vermont.