Commercial and agricultural development projects totaling $38.5 million throughout the state will receive more than $17 million in financing assistance from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). Included in this round of approvals is more than $2 million in low-interest agricultural stimulus financing to Vermont farmers seeking immediate assistance. The Authority is making investments in projects that will add jobs in almost all sectors of Vermont s economy, said Jo Bradley, VEDA s Chief Executive Officer. As announced by Governor James Douglas and approved by the Vermont General Assembly last month, this special low-interest agricultural stimulus financing is part of up to $6 million VEDA has available for a limited time to help eligible farmers, said Bradley. The Authority was able to buy down interest rates with $1 million in federal economic stimulus funds from Vermont s share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and make these special loans through our agricultural financing program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation.Projects approved for VEDA financing are:John and Karel Underwood, Montpelier Approval of $800,000 in financing will help John and Karel Underwood purchase the Inn at Montpelier. The Inn property consists of a 19-room bed and breakfast, 10-unit apartment building, and two detached garages located on 1.2 acres in downtown Montpelier. The Underwoods, previous owners and operators of several restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio, plan to develop the function and group business side of the Inn s business. Employment at the Inn currently numbers 3.5 positions, and is expected to grow to 8 positions within three years of the $3 million project.Thetford Academy, Thetford Final approval was given for issuance of $6 million in tax-exempt industrial revenue bond financing to support a $10.8 million construction,renovation and refinance project at Thetford Academy. The project had received approval by VEDA in May, 2008, but due to subsequent changes in project scope that necessitated additional permit review, closing was delayed until this spring. Mascoma Savings and Laconia Savings Banks have agreed to participate in the project financing, which will add a new gymnasium and make major renovations of the current gym into a theater and cafeteria. The Academy s science and agriculture building also will be significantly renovated and updated. Established in 1819, Thetford Academy is Vermont s oldest continuously operating secondary school, serving students from Thetford and surrounding towns.Preci-Manufacturing, Inc., Winooski – Financing of $640,000 was approved for Preci-Manufacturing, Inc. (PMI) as part of a $1.7 million project to expand the company s manufacturing operations through construction of a 19,000 square foot addition. Located in the Highland Industrial Park in Winooski, PMI manufactures precision-machined metal components for use primarily in the defense and aerospace industries. PMI employs 103 persons, a number expected to grow to 115 within three years of the project.Durasol Awnings, Inc., Middlebury Financing of $794,000 was approved to assist Durasol Awnings, Inc. in their plans to purchase the 54,000 square foot commercial building on 18 acres where they currently lease space in Middlebury. The purchase and leasehold improvement renovations to the Geiger building on Pond Lane will help improve Durasol s efficiency in manufacturing and distribution. The Middlebury National Bank of Middlebury is also participating in the project. Durasol s Middlebury, Vermont facility, originally begun in 1976 as Otter Creek Awnings, employs 21 persons, and manufactures commercial awning products, distributing them to commercial contractors around the United States and Canada.Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Brattleboro – Preliminary approval was given for issuance of $2,853,000 in tax-exempt industrial revenue bond financing the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. to help the school make extensive energy conservation upgrades at the Brattleboro campus, and refinance existing debt from prior renovations. Originally established in 1904 as the Austine School, the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. now provides comprehensive educational and support services through several programs to deaf and hard of hearing children, adults, and families throughout Vermont and surrounding states. The school s campus consists of multiple school and dormitory buildings on approximately 174 acres of land. The school employs 201 persons, a number expected to grow to 229 within three years of the project, should final approval for project financing be secured.SBE, Inc., Barre VEDA direct financing of $1.3 million to SBE, Inc. of Barre was approved contingent on award of an $8 million Department of Energy (DOE) matching grant for which SBE, Inc. has applied. The DOE grant is associated with the Economic Recovery Act for its Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. SBE, Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of film/foil and metalized capacitors for DC and AC applications. SBE s traditional line of capacitors, which store electricity or electrical energy, are used in virtually every electronic and electrical device made, including cellular phones, televisions, power supply and power generation units, household appliances and industrial machinery. SBE, Inc. currently employs 43 persons, a number that could grow to 176 if the DOE grant is awarded. If the grant is awarded, SBE would undertake a significant $12.3 million manufacturing expansion, involving the construction and equipping of a new 50,000 square foot facility to be located in Wilson Industrial Park in Barre.The Authority also approved:An additional $433,000 in Direct Loans to several Vermont businesses and manufacturers;A total of $3.6 million in farm ownership and operating loans through the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation;$343,500 for several small business development projects through the Vermont Small Business Loan Program;$197,385 through the Vermont Business Energy Conservation Loan Program to help small businesses make energy efficiency and conservation improvements; and$159,450 to finance the construction of water systems through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund.VEDA s mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.4 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) or call 802-828-5627.