by Lené Gary
May 29, 2018 marked the end of a decades-long proverbial winter. Under bluebird skies,
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and Gov. Phil Scott joined Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson and many others in a jubilant groundbreaking celebration at the future site of the 1 Taylor Street Project.
Laughter and smiles came easily as community members mingled with housing and transportation advocates and elected officials. Phones were lifted high in the clear May air by those wanting to record this historic moment, years in the making. Some viewers took to standing on large rocks lining the edge of the parking lot to get a better view.
Speeches were littered with moments of nostalgia for what Montpelier has offered its residents, or the speaker, over the years, and each ended on a note of hope for what this transit center promises the city and state’s future.
“Today we celebrate a major milestone for the One Taylor Street project,” Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson told the crowd. “It is a day that we start to see the tangible fruits of our labor—the labor of many community and state and federal partners.”
Watson also espoused the benefits of the center’s location for its residents, including the ease of access it provides to Montpelier’s recreation path and to buses servicing St. Johnsbury and Burlington. Green Mountain Transit General Manager Mark A. Sousa also spoke, focusing on how the partnership between GMT and the City of Montpelier will benefit Central Vermonters.
The collaborative energy and shared sense of joy between Kathy Beyer, Vice President for Development at Housing Vermont and Eileen Peltier, Executive Director of Downstreet Housing and Community Development, was unmistakable. “At One Taylor Street,” Beyer said, “our residents will be able to have a choice to hop on the bus, to hop on their bike or drive their car, or even walk to work.”
The morning’s celebration concluded with a jovial hard hat-shovel dig by the most prominent parties in bringing this project to fruition. As the festivities wound down, the breeze picked up. The scent of lilacs still in bloom sifted gently through a crowd reluctant to let go of this one fine moment marking the beginning of a new chapter for Montpelier.