CNB, RuralEdge partnership paves way for affordable housing in former Newport convent

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(L to R:) CNB Executive VP and CFO Louise Bonvechio, CNB VP and Controller Nikole Brainard, RuralEdge Executive Director Patrick Shattuck, RuralEdge Director of Real Estate Development Rebecca Masure and RuralEdge Director of Finance and Compliance Diana Cazaudumec.
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NEWPORT — Community National Bank (CNB) employees recently joined RuralEdge staff for a tour of the former Sacred Heart convent, marking a significant step in its transformation into 26 units of affordable housing. As of February 12, the construction management firm has been actively involved, with bidding set to start in late March and construction anticipated for June.

The project, spearheaded by RuralEdge, aims to address the housing needs of the so-called “missing middle” — individuals and families who often don’t qualify for most affordable housing programs. Following the convent’s renovation, a second phase will renovate the former Sacred Heart High School into 24 condominium units.

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Louise Bonvechio, CNB’s Executive Vice President and CFO, has a longstanding connection with RuralEdge, serving as the chairperson of their Finance committee. Alongside her, two other CNB employees, Senior Vice President and Human Resources Officer Kimico Perry, and Vice President and Controller Nikole Brainard, are board members of RuralEdge.

CNB’s involvement extends beyond volunteerism. The bank has been a long-term supporter of RuralEdge, contributing to the operating costs of its Homeownership Center and investing as a private equity investor in projects like the Newport Crossing development at the former convent.

Patrick Shattuck, RuralEdge’s Executive Director, lauded CNB’s.

“RuralEdge values our relationship with Community National Bank,” Shattuck said. “They are true partners in every sense of the word and share our commitment to creating strong communities.”

RuralEdge, a NeighborWorks organization, focuses on strengthening Northeast Kingdom communities through stable, affordable housing and supportive services. Their Homeownership Center provides financial counseling, home repair education, and other programs for new homebuyers. More information about RuralEdge can be found at ruraledge.org.

Community National Bank, serving its communities since 1851, operates in various locations throughout Vermont and has Loan Production Offices in Burlington and Lebanon, NH. Further details about CNB and its services can be accessed at communitynationalbank.com.

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