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Northern Border Regional Commission & USDA Rural Development Announce $2.85 Million for Economic Development Projects in Four States

MONTPELIER, Vt., December 11, 2023 – Today, the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) announced $2.85 million in funding for economic-development projects in Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The awards being made through this partnership will support community-driven initiatives in each state with a particular focus on outdoor recreation, business support and workforce development efforts. Congress has provided funds to the NBRC since 2019 for this partnership, which advances the strategic objectives of both agencies.

“When we invest in economic development initiatives that are a priority for rural communities, we strengthen the entire region.  This collaboration brings together two federal agencies, whose sole focus is on improving the day-to-day lives of people who live in rural America. With this focus and knowledge of the region we are thrilled to announce this slate of projects that will create economic opportunity, increase access to health care and collectively positions the region for a strong future,” said Chris Saunders, Federal Co-Chair of the NBRC.

“We are proud to partner with the Northern Border Regional Commission across four states to help rural residents build their better future,” said Sarah Waring, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Vermont and New Hampshire. “With today’s announcement, organizations in the Twin States will provide more and better jobs for workers, modern recreational facilities for tourists and residents, technical assistance for employers, and 21st century learning opportunities for students. This funding is a reflection of the NBRC’s skill in making transformative impacts across a wide spectrum of community-development initiatives.”

Funds will support the following efforts across NBRC’s four-state region:

Friends of Quarry Road (Waterville, ME) — $712,500
Public Park improvements to improve the region’s outdoor recreation capacity, including construction of a guest services building, multi-use trail, parking lot with smart charger stations and onsite facilities and water. This award will also address parking, draining and stormwater management issues.


Coös Economic Development Council (Lancaster, NH) — $144,260
Support of the LEAN In (Leadership, Expansion, Advancement & Networking) program which advances workforce and business development objectives in Coös County to better connect businesses with workforce advancement needs, support business expansion with our Canadian partners, and build pipelines for youth and adults via workshop programs, high school technical learning programs, and casual learning from professional networking groups.


Upper Valley Snowsports/Whaleback (Enfield, NH)  $100,000
Purchase of additional snowmaking guns, an additional water pump and upgraded electrical supply, effectively doubling snowmaking capacity. The additional snowmaking equipment will allow the mountain to maximize the use of their water supply during limited early season snowmaking windows and expect total snowmaking volume to increase in the earliest part of the winter season.


White Mountain Science, Inc. (Littleton, NH)  $216,048
Creation of an expansive STEM Skill and Workforce Development program. This project will provide a variety of workshops that increase workforce development and community engagement within Grafton and Coös Counties. Workshops will include topics in computer science, technology, design, engineering, artistry, and problem solving.


Shugah Valley Snow Riders (Claremont, NH) — $252,190
Purchase of new grooming equipment: a groomer, drag, and trimming attachment. Modern groomers have almost double the horsepower and can safely navigate challenging terrain even in icy conditions. The new drag is required because the trail systems are narrow and shared with ATVs. The trail trimming attachment with save volunteer hours and improve rider safety.


Clarkson University (Potsdam, NY) — $412,500
Clarkson’s Lewis School of Health Sciences, nationally known for preparing students and medical providers for rural healthcare, will train EMTs and paramedics impacting multiple NBRC counties affected by the healthcare workforce crisis. The project will add four high fidelity simulation labs to increase skill level of EMT and paramedic students and add to the number of full time EMS providers in St. Lawrence County.


Visiting Nurses Association of Central New York (Syracuse, NY) — $300,000
Funds will allow the VNA to expand their existing home care nurse residency program into Oneida County, while also improving recruitment, retention and preparation of novice nurses. The program will accept new applicants every two months with a goal of graduating 80% of participants and decreasing the turnover rate of novice nurses while creating a homecare nursing staff dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health that play a critical role in the well-being of patients.


Franklin County Field Days, Inc. (St. Albans, VT)  $25,000
Franklin County Field Days (FCFD) has undertaken a feasibility study to determine the final location for their annual event as the current location will not be available going forward. These funds will be utilized for preacquisition legal expenses specific to the purchase of a property suitable for relocation.


Vermont Adaptive (Killington, VT) — $500,000
Development of a multi-year facility for people with disabilities to increase access to physical activity and outdoor recreation.


The Space on Main (Bradford, VT) — $80,687.50
Expanded STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education programming for all ages at the Space on Main site. Funds will be used to outfit a basement space as a youth innovation lab and for personnel support.

Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (Montpelier, VT) — $106,812.50
Funds will be used to support capacity at the local development district level, including the provision of technical assistance, financial resource planning, and pre-development work in support of industrial park and facility development projects. 

“Clarkson University and our Lewis School of Health Sciences strive to have an impact on our communities as well as the career trajectories of our students. In partnership with St. Lawrence Health, we are the provider of EMS training for our regional community and just launched a new paramedic training program,” said Marc P. Christensen, Ph.D., P.E. “In a more rural community, one of the greatest challenges in teaching clinical skills and scenarios is access to real patient populations during the learning process. With our federal and New York State partners supporting the NBRC and USDA initiatives, our development of simulation labs will allow our students and community first responders to encounter and practice real world scenarios with frequency.”

"The Shugah Valley Snow Riders are grateful for the generous support of NBRC and USDA. These grant funds will help us buy a new groomer and replace our existing machine that is 26 years old. Without the grant funding, we would not be able to make this sort of investment. Thanks to NBRC and USDA, our 65 miles of trails will be well-maintained for multiple types of trail users--including snowmobilers, hikers, dog walkers, dog teams, and cross-country skiers-- for many years to come so we can all access and enjoy the trails during winter months," said Roger Wright, President of the Shugah Valley Snow Riders.


About the NBRC
Created in 2008, the Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership whose mission is to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private sector job creation in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.

About USDA Rural Development

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

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