This week I thought I would share with you a bird’s eye view of central downtown once construction is complete in early Summer 2021.
The illustration you’re looking at was developed by Lincoln Brown Illustration, an architectural illustration studio located in Burlington.
Let’s start with what you can’t see: the sidewalk in front of the Battell Block on Merchants Row. It will be rebuilt and extended out another six feet to create space for café-style outdoor dining and to allow for the planting of trees on Merchants Row.
In fact, all the sidewalks within the project area downtown will be rebuilt, with granite curbing.
Staying with Merchants Row, remember that it will now remain permanently one-way up the hill. The crosswalk in front of the Battell driveway has been pushed back from the drive entrance to improve driver visibility of pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Merchants Row will have 44 parking spaces, including 2 handicapped spaces.
Across the street we have the redesigned Triangle Park, now roughly four times its pre-construction size and featuring a mix of green space and hardscape to allow for public events in central downtown. The fountain has been relocated closer to the intersection and the 1840s-era ashlar blocks, preserved from the rail corridor abutment, will be set in place as seating.
Note, too, the new paved pathway connecting St. Stephen’s to the Town Green. For years, that’s been a mud path.
A new crosswalk connects Triangle Park to Printer’s Alley and should help calm traffic on Main Street. A redesigned Printer’s Alley includes several new features.
From left to right, as you enter Printer’s Alley from Main Street, are 5 feet of green space next to the Duclos Building (the National Bank of Middlebury), a new sidewalk for pedestrians walking between Main Street and the Marble Works, a widened roadway taking motorists one way into the Marble Works, and the new Lazarus Park, named in honor of the Lazarus family, whose department store occupied the Duclos Building and this site for some 50 years.
Lazarus Park will feature an ADA accessible pathway, new plantings, ashlar block seating, and a labyrinth funded by St. Stephen’s that will create a meditative space downtown and an interesting new landmark for locals and visitors. (You can view the labyrintn in the illustration inclluded in my June 7 update.)
All Main Street parking will be restored—that’s 39 parking spaces, including 3 handicapped spaces. So we’ll have nearly 85 parking spaces in our two downtown blocks. What a relief that will be. And with the temporary bridges gone, the “hump” in both roadways will disappear.
All of this work, including the redesign and landscaping of our new two parks, is being paid for by the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
Who Doesn’t Love Food(aroo)?
Our good friends at Middlebury UndergroundD (aka MUD) wanted me to remind you that Foodaroo—an annual celebration of Vermont food, music, culture and community—returns to the Marble Works this Sunday, June 23, from 4 PM to 9 PM.
There’s a small $5 cover charge and kids 12 and under are free. My weather app is telling me Sunday will be 79 and sunny so come on out and support another of Middlebury’s unique summer events! (And unlike last year, you can walk down Printer’s Alley to get to Foodaroo from Main Street.)
As I’ve been mentioning, no construction activity is planned downtown until later in July. I’m expecting to see detailed timelines for the support of excavation and town infrastructure work that will dominate this year’s construction activity any day now and will share those once I have them in hand.
In the meantime, we’re off on a rather overdue vacation so there will be no update next week. But I’m sure I’ll have plenty to share in early July as we get ready for Peasant Market, Festival on the Green, and the Lion’s Club Auction & Barbecue.
That’s all for today. See you downtown.
Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.