🇺🇸 Bennington, Vermont, USABennington is a town in Bennington County, Vermont, in the United States. It is one of two shire towns (county seats) of the county, the other being Manchester. Bennington is the most populous town in southern Vermont, the third-largest town in Vermont (after Essex and Colchester) and the sixth-largest municipality in the state including the cities of Burlington, Rutland, and South Burlington.
The town is home to the Bennington Battle Monument, which is the tallest human-made structure in the state of Vermont. The town has a long history of manufacturing, primarily within wood processing. The town is also recognised nationally for its pottery, iron, and textiles.
Economy Industries related to agriculture, forestry, fishing, trade and retail, tourism, shipping by air, health care and government related jobs help shape and play a vital role in Bennington's economy. Bennington County, as of 2013, has 15,194 non-farm employees living or working within the county as of 2013. Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, with a workforce of approximately 1,300 employees, is the town's largest employer, and the seventh largest in Vermont. Its largest for-profit manufacturing employer is NSK Steering Systems America, Inc., with a workforce of 864 as of March 2013.
Bennington leaders have formed the Bennington Economic Development Partners to facilitate and expedite economic growth. Working from a newly created Strategic Economic Development Plan that promotes the benefits afforded to companies located in the local area. Foreign Trade Zone, EB5, low interest loans, site-ready properties for manufacturing, R&D, Retail, and Technology are a few of the benefits available to new and existing industries.
The Town of Bennington Economic and Community Development Office, the Better Bennington Corporation, the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, Bennington County Regional Commission, and Bennington County Industrial Corporation are just some of the partners who coordinate the efforts of the Strategic Plan.
Bennington's "big box" development is mostly confined to the Northside Drive and Kocher Drive corridor in the northern portion of town.
Downtown Bennington has a historic downtown with businesses that include cobblers, a barber shop, chocolatier, bakery, cafes, pizza parlors, Chinese restaurant, live theatre, brewery, bookshop, men's and women's clothiers, jewelers, Vermont crafts and products, toy stores, music shops, a hobby shop, a country store, an art shop, home improvement and lumber yard, a museum, and several galleries.
Downtown Bennington is also home to Bennington Potters, Oldcastle Theatre, Hemmings Motor News, Robert Frost Grave and the Old First Church, the Bennington Museum, Grandma Moses' Schoolhouse, Old Blacksmith Shop Visitor Center, New Lucky Dragon, and Madison's Brewery.
The downtown area is noted for its historically preserved architecture, outdoor seasonal dining, locally owned shops, cafés, Memorial Fountain Park, antique shops, and river walk paralleling the Walloomsac River.
Downtown Bennington is a designated "Vermont Main Street" participant overseen and operated by the Better Bennington Corporation, a nationally accredited National Main Street Program by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Big box bylaw In January 2005, the Select Board proposed a big box bylaw, primarily in response to Wal-Mart's plans to raze its existing 51,000-square-foot (4,700 m²) outlet and replace it with a 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m²) Supercenter. The potential negative impact on the town's local economy, the low wages paid by Wal-Mart to its employees, and controversies associated with Wal-Mart in general were cited as reasons in support of the bylaw. The bylaw called for a 50,000-to-75,000-square-foot (4,600 to 7,000 m²) cap on big box stores. In addition, any retailer wishing to build a store greater than 30,000 square feet (2,800 m²) of aggregate store space would be required to submit and pay for an evaluation known as a Community Impact Study to the Select Board for approval. Residents voted against the initial proposal in April 2005. However, the Select Board passed a new bylaw on August 1, 2005, that went into effect August 22.
Bennington has a population of over 15,764 people. Bennington also forms the centre of the wider Bennington County which has a population of over 37,347 people.