“Life in Rutland, Vermont is characterized by its close access to opportunity in an urban center that still feels like a small town, as well as the variety of recreational spaces amid Vermont’s natural beauty.” This is a direct quote from ThinkVermont, an initiative of the Vermont Department of Economic Development to provide resources to those interested in moving to Vermont.

Every so often ThinkVermont features each region of the state. The most recent spotlight is on the Rutland Region. Below are some aspects ThinkVermont has highlighted.

Center Street Downtown Rutland, Vermont

Community Improvement Projects

Rutland’s community takes on projects that continuously improve the city. Investments in the city center and the surrounding area make Rutland an attractive place for families to put down roots, looking forward to a bright economic future.

The state of Vermont is committed to funding projects that spur economic recovery and revitalization in communities across the state. In 2022, the Vermont Legislature, through Act 183 and 185, appropriated $40,000,000 from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) for the Community Recovery and Revitalization Program (CRRP). Eligible uses for these funds include capital improvements related to the renovation or creation of childcare and affordable housing for low and moderate income households, capital projects that assist nonprofits and small businesses in industries most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and municipal water supply and wastewater projects that build housing or create jobs through business creation and expansion. Impacted industries are for-profit and nonprofit organizations in the following sectors, agriculture, educational services, arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services. Applications are currently open.

Chittenden Reservoir in Chittenden, Vermont

Close to Nature

With a population of about 15,800 people in 2020, Rutland is Vermont’s fifth most populous city. Killington and Pico mountains elevate Rutland’s skyline, with the city nestled in a wide valley between the Green Mountain and Taconic ranges. The Cold River and Otter Creek cut through surrounding Rutland County, Vermont’s second-largest county by area. The county is also home to parts of two nationally protected natural areas, Green Mountain National Forest and White Rocks Natural Recreation Area.

The Chittenden Reservoir, a 721-acre natural area prized for its fishing opportunities is also about 20 minutes outside of Rutland.

Pine Hill Park is 300 acres with a 16-mile single-track trail system found in the northwest corner of Rutland City. The park is stewarded by the Pine Hill Partnership, a non-profit organization run by volunteers.

Interior of the Paramount Theatre

Historic New England Architecture

Rutland was chartered in 1761 and retains the classic charm of a historic New England village with the amenities of a larger city. Rutland’s downtown is part of the National Registry of Historic Places, characterized by historic buildings like the 1913 Paramount Theatre and nods to the region’s deep history in marble quarrying, while simultaneously making space for modern energy and ventures.

The world’s largest marble exhibit is the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor, Vermont. The Vermont Marble Company virtually built the town of Proctor. At its peak, the company employed several thousand people in the Proctor area. Early in the century, it was considered the largest U.S. corporation in the world.

Inside the Hub CoWorks in Downtown Rutland, Vermont

Newly Renovated Co-Working Space

Remote workers bringing their jobs to Vermont can find community at the brand-new, 24,000-square-foot coworking space Hub CoWorks, complete with podcasting space and room for an artist incubator as well as hot desks, private desks, and meeting rooms. Membership plans include everything from half-day passes to varying monthly passes.

StartUp Rutland, the region’s technology-driven business incubator located at The Hub CoWorks. This program is intended to inspire a regional culture and community of tech innovation, create and implement a scalable technology support program, and develop a mentor and investor network providing tech entrepreneurs with the human and financial capital needed to grow and scale a business.

Dream Maker Bakers pose with the 542lb whoopie pie from the 2022 Whoopie Pie Festival.

Community Events

Community life in Rutland is welcoming and active, with many annual events on the calendar. Mark your calendar for the annual Middletown Springs Strawberry Festival. Experience the Rutland Halloween Parade, a town classic since 1960, Friday Night Live summer concert series, Rutland Winterfest, the Whoopie Pie Fest, or an annual holiday tree lighting where Santa arrives by fire truck.

The Whoopie Pie Festival, hosted by the Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region, brings about 3,000 people to Downtown Rutland for an afternoon. The next one is scheduled for September 16, 2023. The event features over a dozen bakers from multiple states, the Red Trouser Show, magicians, caricature artists, face painters, food trucks, and more! Dream Maker Bakers in Killington, Vermont baked and put together a 542-pound whoopie pie in 2022. This year, they are ready to build a 700-pound whoopie pie and eventually break the world record. The event is made possible because of Rutland County businesses, organizations, and non-profits.

Ann and Solomon Story marble sculpture.

Local Art

For entertainment, explore the Rutland Sculpture Trail or the city’s mural project. The city center will also make use of new investment through the Center Street Streetscape Improvement Plan, transforming a key downtown block into a dynamic and vibrant space with enhanced pedestrian space to walk and window-shop, improved parking, and safe outdoor seating for restaurants, plants, and public art. “Beginners Mind,” a mural project installing colorful outdoor murals downtown, adds character and identity to the Rutland city center.

Downtown Rutland is home to many murals. The Downtown Rutland Partnership has a mural walk on its website. As of May 4, 2023, there are twenty-three murals in the downtown. But there are more murals throughout the city nearby and more popping up often.

Still in Rutland County, Brandon, a nearby town, is known as the “Art and Soul” of Vermont. The town’s vibrant, walkable center is home to art galleries, studios, shops, lodging, and restaurants. One gallery is the Brandon Artists Guild. Once you walk through the door, browse fine art and crafts by over thirty member artists and artisans, all creating art in Vermont! Also in Brandon is the Vermont Folk Art Gallery. Many days the artist can be found working in their studio and the doors will be open for visitors to stop in.

Farmers Market in Downtown Rutland, Vermont

Local Food

Vermont residents enjoy immediate access to locally grown food, and Rutland is no exception. Meet and forge connections with local growers, artists, and producers at Vermont’s largest year-round farmers market, along with a variety of outdoor markets, the Rutland Co-op, and community-supported agriculture packages to supplement your grocery list with local, healthy essentials.

ThinkVermont only highlighted some of the wonderful aspects of our area. If you are interested in learning more about this beautiful area so many have made their home, connect with us here! We are always happy to discuss opportunities in our region.

Above are only snippets of the full spotlight. Read the entire article here!