The Vermont Economic Development Authority has approved $3 million in financing to support Vermont business and agricultural development projects totaling $9.5 million, including to the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation and The Essex. Investments in Vermont s agricultural economy represent a third of our lending this month, said Jo Bradley, VEDA s Chief Executive Officer. Additional investments in the travel and tourism sector of Vermont s economy were approved, and the Authority will assist in the financing of several small business, drinking water system, and energy conservation projects.The Authority approved:$1.04 million in farm ownership and operating loans through the Authority s agricultural financing program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation;Essex Inn Partners, Ltd., Essex Financing of $1.3 million was approved as part of a $6 million project to finance improvements at The Essex (formerly the Inn at Essex). Chittenden Bank is also participating in the project. The Project improvements include the Inn s new 13,200 sq ft. spa center and indoor pool, a more efficient HVAC system for the whole Inn, a new culinary kitchen allowing the Inn to expand its culinary programs for guests, and other renovations that will add six new guest rooms, a new boardroom and a game room. The Inn currently employs 56, a number projected to more than double to 112 within three years as a result of the Project.In addition, VEDA approved:$324,764 to repair or improve existing privately-owned drinking water systems through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund;$320,000 for several small business development projects through the Vermont Small Business Loan Program; and$64,152 through the Vermont Business Energy Conservation Loan Program to help small businesses make energy efficiency and conservation improvements.VEDA s mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.4 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) or call 802-828-5627.