Now is the moment
I was glad to see your article on the capital “Gateway” meeting of Oct. 18.
For decades, there has been much discussion and dreaming about the Winooski River and how it could become more of a downtown amenity, source of enjoyment and educational opportunity. Now the moment of truth is upon us.
With inspiration, planning and will, residents and visitors could sit by the river with coffee or even dinner; take long walks; bike; launch boats; fish; watch outdoor performances; dance; enjoy outdoor sculpture; learn about the river’s history and ecology. Speaking of dinner by the river, wouldn’t it be excellent to be able to have dinner outdoors in downtown Montpelier without breathing carbon monoxide?
In the ’90s, the Conservation Commission held a series of public discussions and made drawings and maps of what such a river environment would look like. I’m sure many similar sessions were held before then and since.
It’s a tremendous waste and loss of economic and scenic value to use a potentially beautiful and enjoyable river environment mainly for parking. Cars need to go elsewhere. Yes, parking is a problem. But with all the creative and civic-minded people in this community, surely a better solution can be found.
Now we have a large building going up on the Carr Lot. Let’s strive to make it what Michael Hoffman proposed at the meeting: a really wonderful concept, designed by one or a group of forward-thinking local architects, with locally sourced materials and a green footprint. Thank you, Michael, for putting that out there.
Yes, let’s get beyond the serviceable and mundane in this crucial downtown space, and think creatively. Our small city with a big heart deserves no less.
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