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Revitalize Your Community Through Area-Wide Planning

Jul 20, 2016

Brownfield redevelopment projects on sites with past industrial use often come with many challenges like environmental liability concerns, financial barriers, and cleanup considerations. To help mitigate and avoid these challenges, communities across the country and here in Vermont are using area-wide planning to integrate the cleanup/reuse of brownfields into broader, more coordinated revitalization strategies to create more vibrant, healthy, safe, and sustainable communities.

The benefits of an area-wide planning process extend beyond individual sites and encompass local environmental and public health challenges, as well as housing, business, and transportation needs. When done well, the area-wide planning approach supports economic development, facilitates the use or reuse of existing infrastructure, fosters community engagement and buy-in, promotes local stakeholder and citizen partnerships, and provides prospective developers and economic partners the information and tools necessary to leverage funding and invest in redevelopment projects.


In Vermont, the Town of Bennington is using this strategy to revitalize its downtown area and address several vacant and underutilized properties, many with brownfield conditions. The Town and Bennington County Regional Commission engaged in an area-wide planning process, which resulted in the creation of the Bennington Downtown Area-Wide Plan and Story Map .

The Plan, prepared by Stone and our team members Greenman Pedersen, Kennedy Advisors, and Centerline Architects, responds to market opportunities and input by stakeholders and provides a vision for a vibrant downtown that is place where people can live, work, shop, visit and come together for community and social events. Drawing from the Plan's detailed market study, conceptual redevelopment scenarios, and feasibility analyses, the Town recently announced its plans to move forward with the proposed Putnam Block Redevelopment Effort. With the support of the community, a consortium of local business leaders, institutions, and civic-minded investors are leading this effort to transform the block of historic buildings into a mixed-use, downtown space with residential housing, office, restaurants, and retail stores. Want to learn how? Check out the video below.

Watch the Bennington County Regional Commission's announcement of the proposed Putnam Block Redevelopment Effort from July 5, 2016.


Contact Daniel Voisin, Director of Environmental Assessment and Remediation, at to learn more.

Stone is currently undergoing redevelopment planning for the Northfield Village Center. Yesterday, staff presented the Northfield Village Center Area-Wide Plan at a community outreach workshop at the Northfield Common. More information on the Northfield Area-Wide Plan can be found here.

Stone's project staff have supported several area-wide assessment projects, including those for:

  • Downtown Barre / Merchants Row Corridor
  • City of Winooski
  • Village of Essex Junction
  • Bay Street in St. Johnsbury
  • Downtown Richford's Historic "T"