“Imagine: City Hall Park” by Burlington City Arts

Posted on November 29, 2011


About a month ago, I teased a project that I was working on –a project that I’m really excited to be involved with alongside Burlington City Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Well, here are the details of the project, bundled into a five-minute video snapshot. You’ll quickly see there is a ton of information to fit into this particular introductory segment, with plenty of footage still in limbo in the editing room. The goal is to produce an extended documentary about this creative engagement process, with a completion date sometime in February.

We’re using this particular video at creative engagement sessions around Burlington, which is intended to spark re-design ideas from participants.

There’s more video to come, so stay tuned. And chime in at Facebook.com/ImagineCityHallPark if you have some brilliant ideas of your own.


How do you “Imagine” the future of City Hall Park?



This question is the focal point of a collaborative initiative between the City of Burlington, Vermont and Burlington City Arts, with a goal to update and redesign City Hall Park –the preeminent public green space in Downtown Burlington.

Intended to encourage a meaningful answer to this question, using the community’s first-hand experiences in the park, BCA has embarked on a three-month initiative to collect information about how the community would change –or not change– the existing Park.

The project, titled “Imagine: City Hall Park,” originates from a 2011 Our Town grant awarded to BCA through the National Endowment for the Arts –an independent federal agency supporting artists and arts organizations.

The grant has a singular purpose to engage the community of Burlington in creative activities that “Imagine” the future design of the Park.

Launched during the Festival of Fools event with the “Imagination Station,” festival goers were openly excited about voicing their opinions about the current state of the park. Each provided unique, compelling ideas about features and elements that should be considered.

This proactive and passionate community involvement with “Imagine: City Hall Park” has continued throughout the public engagement sessions, and well beyond the “Imagination Station.”

Current community-outreach channels include a social media presence on Facebook, onsite surveys distributed by BCA staff and volunteers, an information booth positioned at park-bordering businesses, as well as creative activities through BCA arts programs.

All of this information will be collected through the end of the year, and then linked to the most prominent components of the existing park.


Physical Conditions:
–Grade: which will affect the overall design to maintain successful landscaping
–Shade: with appropriate trees for encouraging under growth and thriving grass
–Green areas: for both public events and a private withdraw

Pedestrian Traffic:
–The Church St. entrance and alleyway, an extension between the park and the marketplace
–College Street and Main Street, primary traffic veins and the connection to Lake Champlain
–St. Paul Street and the North Walkway are secondary traffic routes
–disability considerations to ensure common use for all
–The existing Wheelspoke design, which originates from the land use as a round-about to accommodate wagon traffic

Beneficial Park Features:
–Seating, benches and tables in both public and private settings
–Water fountains with a 4-season purpose
–Youth Play Zones where kids can play safely
–Community Events, farmers market, artist market, protests, and parades
–Entertainment, art installations, live music and concerts, theater and dance performances
–Memorials dedicated to veterans and patriotic reverence
–Adornments, night lighting, seasonal decorations and landscaping
–Concessions, food, drink, and street vendors

–Hidden electric and utility components
–Easy access to Trash Removal, ongoing landscaping, arts and entertainment
–Safety features such as unobstructed sight lines and proper lighting

In the end, the “Imagine” initiative will help create a master plan for the next incarnation of City Hall Park.

A new park… envisioned by the people who use it the most –community members of Burlington and the greater Champlain Valley.

To this end, landscape architectural firms have been recruited to submit proposals which will then activate the community’s input.

Current park activities will continue to be documented through video and surveys, and new activities will be further explored to enhance the park as a safe, central gathering place for all.

So, let us ask this again, how do you “Imagine” the future of City Hall Park?

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“Imagine: City Hall Park”

Produced by:
Burlington City Arts

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works. arts.gov

Music by:
Sara Grace & Asa Brosious
Carl Thornton
Hokum Bros.
Anthony Santor & Paul Asbell Jazz Duo

Design by:
Ted Olson
Emily Piché

Video by:
Cortex Network

Posted in: Art + Design, Etc., Video