Lighting Up Montpelier!

Apr 10 2024

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holidays Lights Bridges Montpelier Resiliency Montpelier holidays Lights Bridges Recovery Flood

Thanks to extraordinary community effort, Downtown Montpelier has largely recovered from the devastating flood this summer. Its commercial center remains fragile, however, and needs your help.

To attract residents and tourists downtown, make walking in the city safer during the winter months, and to celebrate the resilience and recovery of the capital city, Montpelier Alive is working to illuminate up to seven historic bridges along the Winooski River and its North Branch.

In the winter of 2023, as part of a pilot project, Montpelier Alive, Montpelier’s downtown revitalization non-profit organization, lit up the Langdon Street bridge. Twinkling lights wrapped around the steel trusses illuminated the center of town and reflected off the river. What was once a dark side street became a magnet for holiday shoppers, evening dining and a vibrant music scene. The sparkling bridge declared that Montpelier was open for business and welcomed all to the party!

Montpelier Alive is collaborating with local historians and naturalists to use Montpelier’s unique history to inform each bridge’s illumination design. For instance, the Rialto bridge will be underlit to highlight the North Branch River that runs beneath two lanes of traffic, two sidewalks and an entire building on State Street! The trusses of the Granite Street bridge will be lined with large white bulbs, to highlight the engineering of the structure and mimic the rivets holding the steel beams together. The impact of seven bridges, each uniquely lit, will transfer Montpelier’s cityscape this winter.

Katie Trautz, Executive Director of Montpelier Alive, believes "Illuminating Montpelier's Bridges will not only be impactful for our downtown economy as visitors from near and far come to witness the lights, but the project will act as a metaphor for community resiliency, bringing our town together for a better future."

This initiative will not require Montpelier tax dollars. Donations and grants will provide the funds necessary for building the electric infrastructure, the services of the New England Holiday Lighting Company, the professionals responsible for the magnificent Shelburne Museum Winter Lights display, and the modest amount of electricity required for the energy efficient LED lights.

Lighting will be limited to times when downtown restaurants and theaters are open to allow dark skies for sleeping and enjoying the night stars.

Help Montpelier Alive light up the capital city this winter! If the campaign reaches its $13,350 goal by May 31, 2024 the Montpelier Bridge Illumination Project will receive a matching grant of $26,650 from DHCD’s Better Places program. Click HERE for project details and to DONATE.

The focus of the Better Places grant is on the three bridges that illuminate downtown: the Rialto, Langdon and School Street bridges. Any remaining funds will help build the infrastructure to also light the Bailey Avenue, Taylor Street, and Main Street bridges that cross the Winooski River. Montpelier Alive plans to continue raising funds for all seven bridges over the next year. For more information on the Bridge project, visit Montpelier Alive’s webpage:

montpelieralive.com/bridges

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