After more than a year of construction and a decade of planning, City Hall Park in Burlington is back open.
“At long last we have a public space at the physical heart of Burlington that is alive and that is worthy of this great community and that is accessible and welcoming to all,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger.
The $5.8 billion project boasts much more seating, sustainability, and a 24-hour bathroom.
“Our parks are who we are,” said Doreen Kraft, Burlington City Arts. “They bring us together to converse, to play, to relax, and to consider ways forward to shape the future.”
The plans to renovate sparked controversy over removing unhealthy trees, replacing them with younger ones. But the city’s arborist says the trees were in severe decline and the park was failing.
“Ultimately the work we did would strike a balance between the public use of the space and the long term ecological health and sustainability of the park for generations to come,” said V.J. Comai, city arborist.
22 new trees have been planted and newly installed rain gardens should improve storm-water management in the Queen City. Possibly the most exciting highlight is a splash fountain to be used for play or light and water shows.
The renewed park has also been dedicated to Burlingtonians who lost their life to COVID-19, a plaque will be permanently installed.
“Let us never forget these joyous scenes are fragile and their continuation can only be guaranteed to a longstanding commitment to public health and science,” Weinberger said.
More celebrations are set for Saturday. There will be tours of the park, live music and movie screenings.