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New plans to bring more business to Rutland - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New plans to bring more business to Rutland

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

Rutland's downtown business is the strongest it has been in over 15 years and now new initiatives plan to bring even more business to the city.

When we caught up with Lisa Whelen she was buying a gift in one of the Rutland's newest stores. Pure Original opened just over a month ago.

"I live near the ocean, so I just thought, coming to an area that is more rustic and out in the mountains would be a nice change," said Whelen of Brewster, Massachusetts.

Pure Original is one of Rutland's more than 300 businesses. The Rutland Downtown Partnership says first floor retail now is at 93 percent occupancy, the highest it has been in 15 years.

"We're really excited about that and it's been a long time since we've been able to get to this level, but again we are not taking our foot off the gas pedal. We are going to continue on," said Michael Coppinger of the Downtown Rutland Partnership.

Yankee John has been a Rutland resident for 16 years. He says he's seen the city of 16,000 come full circle.

"Some stores went out of business and stuff, but I've also seen how Rutland's come back and diversity, and how it's growing," said John.

Officials say new initiatives, like the revitalization of the Northwest neighborhood, just mean it's time to invite more people to see Rutland. That's why the Rutland Redevelopment Authority has kicked off a fundraising initiative to finance four signs that will be placed at four entrances to the city.

"It will be a great way to kind of show travelers that they are entering into Rutland City and we're really feeling very positive right now about all the great things that are occurring," said Brennan Duffy of the Rutland Redevelopment Authority.

They hope to direct more travelers, like Lisa Whelen, to come visit.

"I love it. Yeah, it's very quaint um, very eclectic, it's just a nice town," said Whelen.

The Rutland Redevelopment Authority has commitments from area organizations to sponsor the signs. They are continuing to raise funds, and hope to have the signs in place by ski season.

The Rutland Redevelopment Authority says the idea for the signs has been around for decades, but with all that the city has going on, they think now is the time to finally make it happen.

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