US Senator Patrick Leahy and members of the Putney Historical Society, Preservation Trust of Vermont and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board met at the site of the Putney General Store Wednesday morning to announce that a new $60,000 federal grant will ensure that construction on the new General Store can begin this year. None of us here could have imagined that instead of touring a new and improved Putney General Store today we would be standing in front of a vacant lot, said Leahy. But the fact that we are still here is a testament to the Putney community and another example of how in a time of crisis Vermonters pull together.Before the November 2009 fire that destroyed the Putney General Store for a second time in under two years, Leahy had announced he had secured a $100,000 appropriation, in partnership with the Preservation Trust of Vermont, to rebuild the community-supported project. Leahy said the new $60,000 appropriation would be available immediately, enabling the Putney Historical Society to move forward with construction this year. The significance of this money cannot be overstated. It is the last big push we need, to ensure we can move ahead without delay, said Putney Historical Society President, Stuart Strothman.During Wednesday s visit to the site of the Putney General Store, Leahy pointed out that while these funds will help move the project forward, fundraising is not complete. A recent $20,000 matching grant from the Thomas Thompson Foundation requires a $40,000 match. Combined with the Thompson grant and match, the Leahy appropriation brings the estimated $920,000 campaign within $80,000 of completion. Strothman noted that the project may be able to get a loan to cover the difference.The Putney Historical Society has also accessed funding from the Vermont Community Development Program, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Windham Foundation, and many other community donors and corporate donors.Source: PUTNEY, Vt. (Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010) Leahy’s office.