Rockingham looks to “incremental development” for neighborhood revitalization

ROCKINGHAM, Vt. – Restoring downtown buildings was identified as a top priority during last year’s Rockingham community visit, led by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. To sustain this momentum and address the need for small-scale development in downtown Bellows Falls, the town of Rockingham sought help through BDCC’s Southern Vermont Economy Project. BDCC identified the Incremental Development Alliance, which provides technical assistance to transform development plans into tangible action.

Last fall, BDCC introduced local Rockingham partners to IncDev to see how they could help the town proceed. Redevelop Bellows Falls Buildings Task Force, town of Rockingham, village of Bellows Falls, Windham Regional Commission, Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation, Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce, and others supported moving forward with IncDev. BDCC helped secure funding and promised staff support for outreach and meetings. Throughout this winter, IncDev has been providing technical assistance through a series of presentations, market research, and trainings. The series began with an introductory lecture on small development, which can be viewed at

Participants have included local volunteers and officials, as well as nonprofit leaders and property owners. More information and registration can be found at

IncDev helps towns identify technical barriers to development, assess current real estate development opportunities, and understand the current market, and then recruit and train potential “developers” who are often just local residents with a home or business property they want to improve or expand.

IncDev is a nonprofit consulting agency whose goal is to help strengthen local communities by supporting incremental development. They advocate a pivot from the classic model of rapid, large-scale development to a locally driven model of multiple small projects, led by local actors, and executed over time. IncDev leads public trainings for anyone interested in becoming developers, the next of which is a Virtual Small Developer Boot Camp starting April 20 and held over the 11-week period. You can learn more by visiting their website at

The work in Rockingham is just one way BDCC has continued community capacity-building and advancing local projects using virtual meetings and platforms to overcome restrictions due to the pandemic. When the arrival of Covid-19 dictated a shift in approach, SVEP pivoted to immediately focus on capacity building for communities with a slightly different bent: disaster recovery for the local and regional economies. For more information on trainings available to every community in Southern Vermont, please visit

IncDev Technical Assistance to Rockingham was made possible through funding by local and statewide organizations. Support from BDCC’s Southern Vermont Economy Project, funded through USDA RCDI, is matched by contributions from the Vermont Council on Rural Development, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Preservation Trust of Vermont, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and Vermont Community Foundation.

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