Preservation Trust of Vt. partners with ZION Growers for new industry in Proctor

BRANDON MCFARLANE, LEFT, and Travis Samuels, right, pose in front of the future home of ZION Growers in Proctor.

PROCTOR — After a decade of ownership and successfully securing the collections of the Vermont Marble Museum, the Preservation Trust of Vermont (PTV) has transferred ownership of the former Vermont Marble Company facility in Proctor to ZION Growers, a Vermont-based industrial hemp processing company. 

“Our partnership with ZION Growers achieves the goals that the trust identified when it stepped in to purchase the 52 Main Street building,” said PTV President Ben Doyle. “As a result of our efforts, the building and collections of the Vermont Marble Museum will be preserved so that residents and visitors alike can understand the important history of the marble industry in Vermont. 

“In addition,” he continued, “the Trust is proud to bring economic opportunity to Rutland County with a promising new business coming to Proctor.”

ZION Growers plans to use much of the 84,000-sq. Ft. building for processing locally sourced industrial hemp into fiber for use in a variety of value-added products, including paper, textiles, and green building materials.

“The emerging industrial hemp market is an opportunity for Vermont,” said ZION CEO Brandon McFarlane. “The fact that this opportunity can be realized while honoring the industrial heritage of the site is why we are excited to work with the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Town of Proctor, and regional economic development partners.”

In 2012, when the building and museum collections were at risk of being sold piecemeal, the PTV stepped in to purchase the building and collections and begin the process of securing the museum’s future. 

Under the terms of the transfer to ZION Growers, the PTV will continue to own the collections, maintain a 99-year lease for the museum, and co-hold a historic preservation easement on the entire building with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. “The Vermont Marble Museum shares the important story of the marble industry in Proctor, Vermont, and the nation. We are excited to have secured our home at 52 Main and hope to reopen soon in partnership with the Preservation Trust of Vermont and ZION Growers,” said Vermont Marble Museum Board Chair Bob Young.

Proctor Town Manager, Michael Ramsey, is equally excited. “The Town is very happy to see more activity at 52 Main. Combining the history of the site with new industry is a win-win for Proctor.”  

Lyle Jepson from the Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region is working with ZION Growers to identify businesses that might co-locate at the site and to support future redevelopment efforts. “Visionary entrepreneurs like ZION Growers are key to the Rutland region’s economy,” says Jepson. “We look forward to helping ZION grow their business and connecting them with other entities that might be interested in renting additional space in 52 Main.”  

During its ownership of 52 Main, the PTV made numerous improvements to the property, including significant work on the fire suppression system, electrical system, water and wastewater systems, roof, and parapets. 

In addition, with assistance from the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, PTV completed brownfields remediation. “Any preservation or community and economic development project of this scale is a team effort. We are grateful to our partners at the Town of Proctor, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development,” said Doyle. “I also want to acknowledge and thank the many donors who helped make this project happen. By working together, we’ve preserved a historic building, a wonderful museum, and an opportunity for the future.” 

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