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Saturday, October 16, 2021

EB-5 money available to enhance projects, attract businesses to Newport

NEWPORT — Governor Phil Scott, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the City of Newport, and the Northern Vermont Development Authority recently announced the availability of Newport Development Fund (NDF) grant opportunities for projects, businesses, and organizations within the City of Newport.

The NDF was established with the proceeds from the 2018 settlement agreement with Ariel Quiros, Sr. to the State of Vermont.

The settlement awarded Quiros’ properties in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to the State and directed the State to use monies from the sale of the properties to promote economic development, particularly for the City of Newport.

Additionally, the NDF includes monies from the 2018 plea agreement of Quiros’ partner Bill Stenger, who agreed to pay the City of Newport $100,000 to go toward economic development.

Newport experienced considerable loss when significant proposed developments, that were purportedly to be funded by the EB-5 investor program, collapsed in 2016.

Since then, the community and local governments have been actively working to identify transformative replacement projects to ensure Newport stays competitive and attractive to developers and investors as it continues to recover.

“These grant programs will go a long way in supporting Newport’s recovery and long-term economic opportunities for people in the Northeast Kingdom,” Gov. Scott said.

The NDF will be used for the specific purpose of creating economic development opportunities within the City of Newport.

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development has worked with the City of Newport and the Northern Vermont Development Association to create two grant programs:


The Newport Development Grant Program: a competitive grant with a minimum request of $50,000, for the purpose of assisting impactful projects that align with city and regional plans. Attention will be given to ensure the use of NDF dollars are effective, relevant, and informed by current and anticipated economic development opportunities, which would create jobs for residents of Newport and its surrounding areas. Increased consideration will be given to properties and entities that can demonstrate they have been adversely impacted by the EB-5 failed projects.


The Discover Newport Business Grant Program: A set-aside funding opportunity of the NDF, aimed at incentivizing businesses to expand or locate within the City of Newport, growing job opportunities, and attracting visitors to the Newport area. This competitive business grant program will award $5,000 to $20,000.

“The City is pleased to see a fair-handed way to distribute these funds directly into the very community that was harmed by the failed projects,” said Laura Dolgin, city manager of Newport. “The design of this program is intended to create a long-term sustainable economic benefit to the community and that seems like the best solution to help put some closure on the matter.”

Currently, the NDF is accepting Letters of Intent to apply for these two programs.

Interested applicants can find the eligibility criteria, application guidelines, and the submission form on the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development website:

https://accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/funding-incentives/newportdevelopmentfund

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