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Northeast Kingdom REAP Zone

Annual Reports: 2009, 2008, 2007

Lead Entity: Northeast Kingdom Enterprise Collaborative, Inc., Vermont

Demographics: Population: 60,862, Poverty Rate: 13.5%

Background: Essex, Orleans and Caledonia Counties of Vermont make up an area known as the ortheast Kingdom The three county region is the most isolated and sparsely populated corner of the state. As a result, it has consistently been the most economically distressed. The countryside is dotted with picturesque villages that have lost their economic foundation, leaving behind poverty and a community infrastructure with few means of support.

Purpose: The Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP), as a pilot program, is established to mitigate the negative effects of a lack of employment opportunities and job losses to rural communities. This REAP is also established to create an environment for communities to find strategies to solve their own problems. The outcomes and lessons learned will help USDA to assist other communities throughout rural America experiencing similar problems. The REAP will document the success of the Northeast Kingdom Enterprise Collaborative and its member efforts to promote social, economic and community development in the region.

The Northeast Kingdom Enterprise Collaborative is committed to the economic and social well being of the Northeast Kingdom and the highest possible quality of life for its people and communities. The Northeast Kingdom Enterprise Collaborative is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Vermont. The Board of Directors is inclusive of the community, including low income residents. The Board of Directors will bring a wide variety of public and private individuals and organizations from the area into the planning of the demonstration area. The Snelling Center for Government will provide financial and administrative services for the Northeast Kingdom Enterprise Collaborative.

Strategic Plan Highlights

  • Economic Development in order to promote economic development the Northeast Kingdom has targeted high unemployment, low wages, and low skills as major areas of emphasis and will; improve technical assistance for businesses, in marketing, financial management, and communication skills in order to promote productivity; provide workplace skills training to allow for individual business success, promote career ladders with educational opportunities; recruit industries paying livable wages while developing and maintaining physical infrastructure needed to support economic development; support activities for commodity producer associations to enable collective processing and marketing efforts, increase activities that allow landowners and loggers to manage and harvest timber in a manner that maximizes income for themselves.
  • Education develop cost effective means to meet professional needs of our schools to deliver excellent educational programs, improve the provision of training to target market driven needs of traditional age students, mature students, employees and employers, and entrepreneurs by developing facilities and initiatives, implement plans to improve Telecommunications infrastructure in the region by increasing knowledge and capabilities of all residents, and use distance learning to increase access to educational opportunities, develop curriculum and activities that connect schools to the community, recognize youth are an import asset in the region and support youth leadership roles in the community, promote the use of community libraries as important educational and community resources.
  • Local Government and Leadership implement leadership development programs, provide expertise to communities to assist them in techniques for citizen involvement, support services for volunteers, teach conflict resolution to civilians, provide technical assistance for grant writing and fundraising to local governments and organizations; provide financial and technical resources to maintain, restore, upgrade and improve accessibility of historic community buildings.
  • Health and Wellness increase the number of health career providers in the region; develop professional health education programs within the region, and use telecommunication technology to provide local access to medical specialties and diagnostic services that cannot be sustained on a full-time basis; improve transportation to medical facilities and/or establish satellite clinic sites in remote areas; teach health and wellness at local resource centers to promote healthier civilians, and develop a comprehensive education and wellness strategy for the Northeast Kingdom.
  • Housing preserve landmark historic structures as affordable housing through continued or adaptive reuse as multi-family housing; repair and rehabilitate single family homes; expand housing for seniors and special needs persons; support programs which assist individuals in the affordable ownership of their own homes; support programs which meet housing expenses; rehabilitate mobile home parks; provide housing to homeless families, individuals, and youths; expand transitional housing that matches housing opportunity with independent living skill development; eliminate lead based paint in homes and educate citizens on essential maintenance practices.
  • Transportation - upgrade roads, bridges, bicycle, pedestrian and trail networks, and assist low income residents to own their own vehicles; expand and support efforts to recruit volunteer drivers; encourage the integration of public transportation and school bus transportation; improve collaboration among organizations and individuals with shared and interdependent service of economic needs for transportation; market options to the public such as lowering prices of public transportation; improve airport facilities to accepted FAA standards enabling airport to operate during non-daylight hours, inclement weather, or up to fifteen hours per day in the winter; revitalize Northern Vermont Railroads.
  • Arts and Culture - Maintain artistic and cultural venues by sustaining and increasing sales; maintain and improve existing facilities and create new facilities; build philanthropy to support the arts; increase programs for children to participate in the arts, including linking artists with schools and youth programs; provide programs that honor and support the history and culture of the region.
  • Recreation, Parks and Conservation increase recreation programs and accessibility including: developing facilities to promote indoor recreation; creating recreational use plans for newly conserved areas and other trail networks, and managing recreational use on trails corridors; promoting community involvement to improve water quality and conserve key natural resources.


David Snedeker


36 Eastern Ave., Ste. 1
P.O. Box 630

St. Johnsburry, VT 05819


(802) 748-5181


(802) 748-1223



Last Modified:02/08/2012 
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