Joe NEK Day Testifying

The 2nd annual Northeast Kingdom (NEK) Day took over the Vermont State House Jan. 28 as more than 150 people traveled to Montpelier to celebrate and share their successes and priorities for the Northeast Kingdom.

Center Vice President Joe Short joined the crowd and testified before the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs about the impact and importance of state support for regional marketing, the working lands economy and other strategies to attract and retain new residents and businesses in rural Vermont.

The N.H. Land and Community Investment Program has awarded $176,000 to the Northern Forest Center to support its renovation of the historic 11,000-square-foot Parker J. Noyes building in Lancaster.

PJN sun web“We’re very grateful to the LCHIP board for supporting this ambitious project,” said Rob Riley, president of the Northern Forest Center. “We’re bringing back this historic gem to contribute to the vibrancy of Lancaster’s Main Street and economy.”

Beginning in the late 1800s, the building was home to Parker J. Noyes Pharmaceutical Company, which developed the sugar-coated pill and an automated machine to form, coat and cut tablets at the rate of 5,000 pills per hour. The company evolved into manufacturing animal feed and moved to another location in Lancaster in the 1980s, where its successor, Trividia, still operates.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance listed the Noyes building on its “Seven to Save” list in 2017 due to the building’s historical significance.

The Center is renovating the building to help position Lancaster as a hub for growth in the North Country, to attract and retain the next generation of families and leaders committed to creating a vibrant future for the town.

The Center is involved in two new rural design projects in Millinocket, Maine. The Center secured a USDA Rural Business Development Grant to develop a wayfinding design system for Millinocket. The project will advance town goals of active and healthy living, and provide better experiences for visitors to encourage repeat and longer visits, which would strengthen the local tourism economy.

In a complementary project, Millinocket is one of three communities chosen nationally to participate in the Citizen’s Institute for Rural Design (CIRD). The rural design workshop will focus on downtown improvements and generate a guidebook of design principles for downtown revitalization. The Center helped the town and Our Katahdin, a local nonprofit, secure the designation from CIRD and is facilitating and participating in the project. As part of the project kick-off, Katahdin Project Director Ailish Keating attended the CIRD Learning Cohort Summit in early October.

Andover Library computer installationPatrons at the Andover Public Library in Andover, Maine, are enjoying four new computers, a wireless printer, and a router that strengthens WiFi signals throughout the building, thanks to a digital inclusion grant from the Center.  Behind the scenes, new wires have replaced old to help the library make full use of the power of the Maine School and Library Network’s (MSLN) fiber-optic network.