Concord & Burke, as a Consortium, Awarded $25,700 State Planning Grant
Burke & Concord, VT – The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) awarded $25,700 to the towns of Concord and Burke, as a consortium, in state Municipal Planning Grant funds to map and market an inter-town long trail biking network. The project will connect Burke, Victory, Concord, and Kirby utilizing gravel roads that are not heavily utilized by vehicular traffic such as Class 4 roads. The long-trail network will attract individuals with varying biking levels and disperse bikers throughout the region. Out of 67 municipalities applying for funding, the Concord and Burke project is one of 29 projects funded.
The inter-town long trail biking route will be featured on a website to connect Kingdom Trails with points of interest in adjacent communities, including the designated village centers of West Burke and Concord Village. The project will capitalize on existing regional attractions and businesses to introduce visitors to little-known but significant local assets and disperse East Burke mountain bike visitors to adjacent communities to relieve congestion. The inter-town long trail network will help to spur economic opportunity throughout the Northeast Kingdom while providing a new asset for year-round residents who appreciate the unique scenic qualities of the NEK and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
James Bentley, chair of the Burke Planning Commission expressed, “We hope that an intertown long trail biking network with Concord will better disperse trail users in the area and the economic benefits that come with them. A thoughtfully designed network, with input from diverse user groups, will hopefully improve recreational opportunities for all.”
Kingdom Trails has attracted thousands of visitors to the NEK. In 2017 Kingdom Trails reported over 10,000 people used the trail network. These visitors are estimated to bring $10 million in direct spending and the Burke community has prospered due to this influx of visitors. By spreading this impact to surrounding towns, the inter-town long trail network will increase the visibility of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom as a whole.
Cynthia Stuart, chair of the Concord Planning & Zoning Board said, “Concord looks forward to not only providing economic opportunities for Concord, but working collaboratively with Burke, Kirby, and Victory to support economic growth for this region of the NEK.”
“As Vermont continues to grow its economy, maintain a high quality of life and attract new people and business to the state, Municipal Planning grants help communities accelerate local solutions, energize downtowns, remove barriers to much-needed housing,” said Vermont DHCD Commissioner Katie Buckley.
Awarded annually and administered by DHCD, the Municipal Planning Grant program supports local community revitalization and planning initiatives. Since 1998, the program provided over $12 million to 234 cities and towns across Vermont, bringing people together to adopt useful and relevant municipal plans and implementing those plans through downtown revitalization, updating regulations, improved capital budgeting and innovative projects to prepare for the challenges they face.