by Nat Frothingham
Anyone who’s on a bike or on foot on the Montpelier recreation path along the Winooski River will have noticed a new pocket park.
That park is on the north (or downtown) side of what is called officially the West Winooski Bike Path Bridge.
That bridge doesn’t carry motorized traffic. It is specifically designed for bicycles and pedestrians. As it crosses the Winooski from the Memorial Drive side of the river it takes you to a point just behind the city’s recently constructed Montpelier District Heat Plant. In the foreground as well is the back side of the Department of Motor Vehicles building.
The pocket park affords a mix of uses. You can stop biking or walking – and sit down on a bench and rest, or take shelter from the sun or rain or meet a friend for a picnic lunch.
According to AARP’s Associate State Director Kelly Stoddard-Poor who talked via phone with The Bridge from her office in Burlington – both Montpelier City councilor Anne Watson and Montpelier architect Ward Joyce played a key role in preparing a grant application to the AARP as part of a nationwide AARP Community Challenge “aimed at creating change and improving (the) quality of life at the community level.”
Nationwide – AARP set aside some $780,000 to fund community improvement projects across the U.S.A. Again, nationwide there were 1,200 applications and 89 projects won awards. Two of these award-winning projects were from Vermont – one in Hyde Park and the pocket park in Montpelier.
When asked if there had been an official ceremony to celebrate the new pocket park, AARP’s Stoddard-Poor said, “No, we’ve had a soft launch.” But she also said she thought there might be an official ceromonial moment sometime soon — before the weather changes.
As they say in the broadcast world, “Stay tuned.”