Community Spotlight: Johnson
Best known for its state college, the Woolen Mills factory, and scenic green mountain views, Johnson is also busy making great strides in community development.
The nonprofit organization “Johnson Works” is overseeing improvements that will enhance the vitality and diversity of Johnson’s mixed-use village center. Specific projects include organizing a community brochure, the popular outdoor Sculpture Show (on display July 15th through October 15th on Main street), and Johnson’s Holiday Festival in December.
The Main Street Project is another Smart Growth initiative in Johnson that first entered public discussion in 2000. Once this project is complete, pedestrians and bicyclists will find Johnson’s Main street corridor more accessible, with new sidewalks, crosswalks, and a shared-use road shoulder for bicycles. Meanwhile, traffic-calming measures, community plazas, benches, trees, lights, and information kiosks will enhance the character of the village. With funding garnered from Senator Leahy’s office and VTrans, the project is currently in design, with construction scheduled to start in 2011.
The Johnson Community Housing project will provide affordable housing in close vicinity to the village center. As part of ANR’s Brownfield Reuse initiative, the former Vermont Electric Co-op facility on School Street will be redeveloped into 24 rental units. The site may also include a regional distribution center for local organic produce. To facilitate development, the Douglas administration granted $1.4 million in deferred loans to the Lamoille Housing Partnership and Housing Vermont on July 7th.
Johnson’s new weekly farmers market has been met with great enthusiasm. The market runs each Tuesday through October 6th, with 18 vendors selling produce, baked and prepared foods, plants, flowers, and artisan crafts, all grown or made in Vermont, at the Marvin Lot from 3:30-6:30. Following the market, community members and visitors can enjoy Johnson’s Tuesday Night Live concert series, another popular event held in the village center.