What would Vermont's capital city be like if it turned to "Face the River"?
We met with school groups and seniors, longtime residents and new transplants, businesses and families. We shared some of Montpelier’s river history — from Abenaki to industrial to present day – and asked the community what they want for the future of these rivers.
The resounding response? A quiet place to sit and eat lunch by the river, a spot to splash with kids or launch a kayak, a path to walk and benches to sit on, a spot for music and celebration.
This is exactly what we mean when we ask communities how they want to “Face the River.” We envision a Vermont where rivers aren’t the nowhereland behind buildings and parking lots; a time when rivers are vibrant places to connect with the river, and with the community.
Two big projects grew directly from these conversations.
First, we’re working closely with the City of Montpelier to develop Confluence River Park, a new downtown destination that will include ADA access to the river, boat launch, fishing platform, installation artwork, kids’ discovery and play features, and plenty of places to meet for lunch.
Second, we’re now looking at the river itself, and looking into what the rivers would be like without so many dams. Could it someday be possible to float from Barre to Montpelier? How much polluted soil is backed up behind area dams, and would rivers be safer for fish and people if the soil were trucked out? We have more questions than answers now – we’re focusing on learning all the details via engineering studies and community conversations – but we’re hopeful that these studies will point us all towards steps we can take to make our rivers safer for fish and people.
Make it Happen!
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