Johnson town, village invest in financial future

JOHNSON, Vt. (WCAX) Northern Vermont University's Johnson campus is a major economic driver for the village and town of Johnson, and now both hope to capitalize on that with the development of a major industrial park.

Both municipalities are involved in developing nearly 18-acres on the village-town line following a vote by residents to buy it for $225,000. There will be up to seven commercial lots that they're working to get local, state, and federal funds to build. And they are hoping to get private investors too.

They expect food processing businesses, especially since it worked so well in Hardwick, and that facility is nearing capacity. And a nearby utility can provide energy needed for refrigeration.

"We're pretty well positioned for serving the resorts and Chittenden County -- that kind of end consumer market -- so we think that would be a good fit here," said Johnson Town Administrator Brian Story.

They plan to work with NVU to come up with internships and workforce development that will fit into the industrial park as well as incubator space for students that work with their classes, like the school's hospitality program. Local leaders also want to collaborate with the school to create programs that will compliment the industrial park.

They expect to begin construction next year.