MANCHESTER - Manchester Assessor and Economic Development Officer Pauline Moore, and Zoning Administrator Lee Krohn, believe that creating a business in Manchester is about much more than simply running said business and making a profit - it is also about the quality of life in the town where the business is built. Because of this belief, they have started UCanVT, an economic development program geared towards bringing new, and pre-existing businesses to the town.

"This is all a part of a year's worth of rebirth of the town," said Krohn. "We want to create good energy and positive outcomes."

The UCanVT project is still in relatively early stages and entails a website and a brochure, but Krohn explained that they aren't done trying to reach out just yet.

"The project is still evolving," said Krohn. "It is going to keep growing because we are creating it from scratch."

They said that they plan to add videos to the website, including testimonials from local business owners that have been featured around the site and on the brochure.

They explained that this project is unique for the town of Manchester, both in how it has been funded and how it came about. Money has come to the project from three sources: The Town of Manchester, the Chamber of Commerce, and the state.

"It is a real paradigm shift," said Krohn, who continued to say that the town once held back with economic assistance to new businesses. However, he marked the Hills Alive! art festival as the event that made the town realize the potential of working together with the businesses.

"They really woke up to the concept of not fighting for a piece of the pie," said Krohn. He also explained that there have recently been changes made to the zoning bylaws to help achieve the community, and business, goals in Manchester.

Krohn advised that while this project is aimed at bringing new business to Manchester, as well as encouraging businesses to relocate, that the town should not lose sight of the ones that are already here.

Moore was happy to say that despite the project being in its early stages, she has received a lot of positive feedback from local businesses on the topic of economic development in Manchester.

"I hear 100 percent of the time that the community is very welcoming," she said, "and that everyone continues to encourage others. When they see a town that is invested in itself... they want to invest here themselves."

"Positive feedback comes around," said Lee. "It's really great to see."

The UCanVT website can be found at www.ucanvt.com. Questions can be directed to Moore by calling her office at 802-362-1373.