Candice Britt knew she wanted to come back to Rutland, and Green Mountain Power made it a lot easier.

Britt and her husband, Matt Britt, were among the finalists last year in GMP’s house giveaway, and they are the first of the finalists to take advantage of the utility’s consolation-prize offer of $10,000 to help relocate to Rutland. Originally from North Carolina, Britt previously lived in Rutland from late 2015 to early 2017.

“I used to work at a bed and breakfast in Killington,” she said. “One of the things I loved about Rutland was when I moved, it was an instant sense of community. ... Within a month’s time, I was going to Rutland Young Professionals events. Within two months time, I was helping out with the events committee. ... I loved how everything revolved around helping each other. The school’s having a raffle or the Rotary’s selling Christmas trees in the park. That was lacking where I come from. I came from a large metropolis. I wanted the small-town feel, and now I have it.”

Organizer Steve Costello said the regional marketing initiative has stayed in touch with several of the semi-finalists, applying the same approach it does to families that have visited Rutland for Stay-to-Stay weekends. He said they avoid “selling” people, but focus on building connections to locals who will help answer the sort of questions that crop up when someone moves to an unfamiliar community.

“I think we’ve been trying to provide really honest and accurate information and trying to show them the community, warts and all,” he said. “We don’t want people to make a life-changing decision they regret. ... This isn’t Shangri-La, but some people do like it.”

The Britts, who closed on a house on Davis Street earlier this month — Matt Britt has a job in graphic and digital design at Heritage Family Credit Union while Candice Britt said she expects to do something in hospitality — already had some of those connections. Candice Britt said they have been living in Ballston Lake, N.Y. for the past two years, but since they married they have talked about where they wanted to live, and Rutland kept coming up. She said they likely would have come to Rutland eventually even without $10,000 from GMP.

“It would have taken us a lot longer,” she said. “We knew we wanted to get back to Rutland and that would have been our plan regardless. The incentive made it happen sooner.”

Costello said the $10,000 comes from a GMP charitable giving fund not fed by ratepayer revenue. Also, he said other finalists may yet take advantage of the offer.

“There’s a couple other families that we’re optimistic (about) — you never know,” he said. “They’re giving it serious consideration.”

gordon.dritschilo

@rutlandherald.com

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