Community Spotlight: Barre
Originally named Wildersburg, and known as the granite center of the world, the City of Barre is located in central Vermont. A lively community year-round, Barre is host to several annual festivals, including the Northeast Fiddler’s Association Contest and Festival in September, Scary Barre, a harvest festival in October, and the summertime Farmer’s Market and Concert Series. The city is also home to the Barre Opera House, which was constructed in 1899 after the original opera house burned down.
In recent years, Barre has become a popular destination for young families who are looking to settle down. Rentals are available at all levels and, if you’re in the market to buy, prices are still reasonable. A study was conducted in 2004 to better understand why people are buying housing in Barre, and 50 to 75% of the respondents indicated that shopping convenience, recreational opportunities and access to local services all played a role in deciding to move to the area.
Barre has also seen a resurgence in local businesses. In 2007, at least six new businesses opened in downtown Barre, most of which were opened by existing residents in their thirties. One of those businesses, LACE (Local Agricultural Community Exchange), is not only a venue for purchasing fresh, Vermont-made farm products, but a space where the community can gather to take part in workshops, discussion groups and lectures.
Barre has been successful in creating a vibrant downtown, and revitalization efforts continue to enhance the community’s potential. The Main Street Reconstruction Project, a plan in the works for numerous years, is moving forward with infrastructure upgrades, which will add new streetscapes to the downtown.
City Hall Park, another project underway, will restore the historic gazebo with additional design plans to include a performance area. The park is in the center of the City, across from the library, and hosts the Summer Concert Series and the Farmer’s Market.
The community is also conducting an inventory and assessment of a city-owned seventy-acre parcel known as the Barre City cow pasture. As the community explores how to revitalize its downtown, it hopes to establish this parcel as a recreation area, very close to the downtown. Learn more about Barre by visiting the City’s website.