Heartland asks for state subsidies | Local news

  Heartland asks for state subsidies |  Local news

“Roads and sewer and the like,” he said. “We’ve got our engineer working on (the exact extent) as we speak. That is to be determined. … It’s a lengthy process. … These resources are available to incentivize development in the state of Vermont. We would not be doing our members justice if we weren’t pursuing all the options the state provides.”

The company, which plans to convert the defunct college into a senior-living facility, has asked the city to apply for a community development block grant on its behalf. The state grants can only be applied for by municipalities, but are often then passed on to private entities for specific projects. John Kalish, Heartland’s regional development director, said the grant would pay for public infrastructure related to the project.

Highlights

  • The board voted to send the issue to committee — over the sole dissent of Alderwoman Sharon Davis, who said she was confused by the need for the city’s involvement — and Allaire said Thursday not to mistake his hesitance about the grant for hesitance regarding the project.

  • Mayor David Allaire brought the request to the Board of Aldermen, but did not endorse it when asked by Alderman Thomas DePoy if he supported the city signing off on the application, instead saying it was “totally up to the board,” and that he was initially uncomfortable with the request but decided the board should be aware of it.

Allaire said a request for public infrastructure is different from other community development block grants the city has sponsored.

“I’m certainly enthusiastic on the project itself,” he said. “We just want to make sure, going into the request to initiate the community development block grant, we are not putting the city on the hook if the project doesn’t go forward.”

“It would be infrastructure underneath the property,” he said. “It seems as though it’s not defined. That’s what gives me pause. I am supportive of the investment down there.”

The company has yet to file for state or local permits for the project.

“We are diligently working toward that,” Kalish said. “I can’t give you a specific date we expect to apply. We are gathering information as we speak. … It’s the normal permitting process issues that your average developer customarily confronts. There’s a lot to the planning. We want to be able to design and implement the project correctly. … There’s a lot of design and engineering components that have a trickle-down effect to the various programs we may or may not apply for.”