Shumlin Signs Bills to Improve Struggling Downtowns

Shumlin Signs Bills to Improve Struggling Downtowns

Three bills became laws Tuesday that are designed to make it easier to invest in downtown districts.

ST. ALBANS, Vt. - Mike McCarthy opened the Cosmic Bakery in St. Albans in 2008. He says he's seen a lot of growth downtown since.

“People have been talking about it since the 80’s but we got to see it happen here in the time we've been growing this little business,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy has also been busy in Montpelier as the state representative for St. Albans. Tuesday he looked on as Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill he's been working hard on. H. 740 is a new law that will allow business developers to share the costs associated with traffic problems they create.

“If they have to pay the bill for everybody else that is causing congestion then they're stuck with that huge bill and it doesn't make since for them to do the project so what do they do they move down the road,” McCarthy said.

It was one of three bills signed today designed to develop and improve downtown areas like St. Albans.

Click here to learn more about H. 809

Click here to learn more about H. 823

But St. Albans is far from the only town that's had its fair share of troubles.

“If you told me five six seven years ago that Barre would be celebrating the kind of comeback that they're celebrating today I and I bet a lot of other Vermonters would have said we don't believe it,” Gov Shumlin said while at a ribbon cutting in Barre Tuesday morning.

By Tuesday afternoon Governor Shumlin was in St. Albans preaching the same message.

“(St. Albans is) one of the most extraordinary come backs of a downtown that I’ve witnessed in Vermont,” Gov. Shumlin said.

“Is that saying something about the shape of downtowns in Vermont in a good way or a bad way?” reporter David Hodges asked.

“Well you know let's be honest about this our downtowns in a lot of communities across Vermont have really been hurting for a number of years,” Gov. Shumlin said.

In some places they continue to as businesses like Plasan in Bennington and Kennametal in Lyndonville cut jobs.

Shumlin says downtowns are bouncing back though and legislation like what McCarthy has been working on will only help.

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