Chowdhury named new community development director

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BENNINGTON — The town has a new community development director.

Zirwat Chowdhury has accepted the position, Town Manager Stuart Hurd announced in a press release Friday afternoon.

Chowdhury lives in Bennington with her husband, Mark Anders. She came to Bennington in 2015 as a visiting faculty member at Bennington College, where she taught art history. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics and art history from Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., where she graduated magna cum laude, receiving awards for excellence in both fields of study. She earned a PhD in art history from Northwestern University. She begins her tenure with the town on July 31.

In a related matter, Hurd also announced that Michael McDonough, who has been serving as interim community development director, will stay on under contract to assist on several special projects currently in progress. These include the TIF District application and the process of disposing of the two existing highway garages. His architectural background and his expertise is planning and construction will be invaluable, Hurd wrote.

In January, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott named Bennington's previous community development director, Michael Harrington, to the post of deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. He had served in the local post since 2012.

According to the town of Bennington website, "In Bennington it is the job of the Office of Economic and Community Development to proactively shape the landscape of the Town by assisting with the growth of business and the community in which they exist. Specifically, the OECD provides support in the form of advocacy, revolving loans, tax incentives and networking to both existing and potential businesses. The OECD plays an active role in the municipality's efforts to make Bennington an easy and friendly place to do business."

In his latest "All About Town" column for the Banner, also submitted Friday afternoon, Hurd wrote that Chowdhury has "an impeccable educational background in economics and art history."

The Banner will write more about this appointment next week.


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