Community Spotlight: Burlington
Named one of America’s most liveable cities, Burlington is an urban hotspot that retains its agricultural roots. Entertainment, incredible sunsets over Lake Champlain, family friendly venues and ease of access by bike or foot are just a few of the attributes that make the city a favorite.
Burlington is likely most famous for Church Street which is located in the heart of downtown. The addition of this open air mall was the result of a one day experimental street fair in 1971 which attracted 15,000 people. The event was such a success that the following year organizers arranged for a week long fair that included special events and an opportunity for retailers to display their goods, with a turnout of roughly 50,000 people. The following years were spent planning and reviewing mall designs to incorporate a permanent open air mall, which was completed in 1981.
Today, Church Street is home to 88 eating and drinking establishments, over 200 retail stores and numerous events, including eclectic street performances occurring most days of the year. During the summer and winter months, residents and visitors enjoy fresh local food and other goods at the Farmers and Artists Market, which runs every Saturday from mid-May through October in City Hall Park and the third Saturday each month from November through April at Memorial Auditorium.
Lake Champlain is one of Burlington’s most important resources and the City has spent the last decade cleaning up contamination, removing vacant structures and adding parks, benches and a very popular and well used walking path along the waterfront. Thanks to these efforts and to a revised Waterfront Revitalization Plan, this section of Burlington’s downtown will continue to draw residents and visitors alike.
The current Revitalization Plan calls for twenty-two projects, some of which have already begun, including the creation of a mixed use neighborhood, a newly installed bus station and a restroom facility. Future initiatives include the renovation of the Moran Plant, the addition of a public market, a multi-modal transportation center and the re-design of Depot Street to make this a safer walking and bike path.
Burlington continues to grow as a healthy, environmentally responsible city, thanks to the efforts of dedicated residents, community organizations and city officials.