By Lani Duke
Center Street Marketplace plans move forward
RUTLAND—Plans continue for developing the Center Street Marketplace as the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) gathers lease agreements with the surrounding property owners. One holdup had been that the federal government required longer-term leases than had initially been contracted, said Susan Schreibman, assistant director of the RRPC.
Constructing the new community area actually begins with deconstructing what is already there, Schreibman observed. The city public works department crews will do that during the autumn, with the construction taking place in 2016. The marketplace will be laid out on a single level with benches, plantings and public art, including space for hanging out and performances, but no permanent stage. Contrary to earlier plans, the marketplace will not contain a fountain; Schreibman cited maintenance difficulties as the reason.
Planners are working with the city forester in determining which plants to use in the new community space. The marketplace design places 30 native shade trees in the area in a combination of small, medium, and large varieties, both deciduous and evergreen, with an eye on varying textures and forms as well as providing bird habitat. The larger trees will be placed where they will shade the park’s major pedestrian zones. The interior planter areas are designed as raingardens, to retain stormwater and filter runoff.
Rutland blooms anew
RUTLAND—More than 100 flowering crabapple trees will take root across Rutland this spring, installed by the forces behind Rutland Blooms, the city of Rutland, and over 100 individual supporters. Thanks to the combined vision of Green Mountain Power’s vice president for generation and energy innovation Steve Costello, Rutland mayor Chris Louras, and former police chief James Baker, the pink-blossomed trees are are changing the face of Rutland and thereby helping to reduce crime.
Some 30 young trees are finding homes on West Street, 40 along Route 7, and 80 in the Northwest neighborhood. Not all are flowering crabs but many are.
They will augment the 70 trees planted last year near the Village Snack Bar on West Street, installed through the efforts of city forester and arborist Dave Schneider to enhance Rutland’s gateway to the west. Schneider is doing even more for this year’s tree planting efforts, approaching property owners for permission to put in trees, buying and delivering the young trees, as well as planting them.
This year’s major planting project grew out of the efforts of numerous people. A $5,000 Project VISION grant to the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry program was intended to replant trees that had been lost to storms or construction disturbances from the water separation project. An additional $30,000+ came into Rutland Blooms in the form of individual and corporate donations.
The civic improvement group hopes to instigate several other projects this year, but not with this large a scope, and to beautify the Strongs Avenue gateway into Downtown in 2016.