Press Release: Local Landlord Joins Fight To Revitalize Street

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2015

Local Landlord Joins Fight To Revitalize Street

326 Pleasant Street Bennington, Vermont (Proposed Changes)

326 Pleasant Street
Bennington, Vermont
(Proposed Changes)

BENNINGTON, VERMONT (October 6, 2015, 1:45pm) – In the early part of 2015 the Town of Bennington launched a community outreach and revitalization program known as Project Catalyst. The goal of the program is to create a network of services and resources for residents and property owners in certain ‘high-risk’ areas as a way to combat drug abuse, crime and blight, while simultaneously improving the neighborhood and increasing community pride.

As part of program, the Town of Bennington is using its already existing community development loan program, but with a twist, as a way to incentivize homeowners and landlords to rehabilitate property in specific locations. More directly, property owners on Pleasant Street in Bennington can apply for up to $25,000 in loan funds at a rate of 1-2% interest at a term of 10 years, for improvements to the properties.

In Bennington, one property owner and landlord has already taken advantage of this program. Peter Cross of Cross Apartments is using this opportunity to improve the landscape, façade and interiors of the apartment building he owns at 326 Pleasant Street.  As it currently stands, the structure is impressive only by its height. It has an oversized parking lot in the front and overgrown shrubs that make it hard to see beyond the roadway. Mr. Cross and the Town of Bennington have been working closely over the past year to change the nature of the building, and while the structure itself will not be altered, the addition of new siding, manicured green space complete with trees and a landscaped traffic island, and renovated apartments will give the property a whole new look. As part of the program, Mr. Cross will require federal background checks of all his incoming residents at 326 Pleasant St. “I want my tenants to be proud of where they live, and I want them to take ownership in keeping it looking good. Many of my tenants are great people and this just ensures that we know exactly who we’re renting to,” said Cross.

Other parts of Project Catalyst include collaborating with residents through feedback options, improving the infrastructure and streetscape, offering anonymous crime reporting, working with providers to offer substance abuse prevention and treatment services, and engaging youth through different activities.

Partners in Project Catalyst include the Town of Bennington, Vermont Department of Health, Alliance for Community Transformations, United Counseling Service, Southwest Vermont Health Care and Southwestern Vermont Supervisory Union.

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For more information about this press release:
Michael Harrington
Economic and Community Development Director
802-447-9710
mharrington@benningtonvt.org