Revitalizing Vermont's Village Greens

Apr 29, 2015

Vermont's seasonal iconography consists of fall foliage, ski resorts in winter, maple sugaring in spring, and village greens in the summertime. Many of the state's villages and towns were built up around their central greens, but since then some greens have fallen by the wayside.

The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development recently documented 148 village greens in Vermont, yet some are better maintained and utilized than others. The goal of the Vermont Village Green Initiative is to restore all the state's greens to their former glory.

"Vermont’s village greens lie at the physical and cultural heart of our communities," the initiative's web page states. "Located historically where roads converged, where meetinghouses were established, where commerce concentrated and homes clustered, village greens hold a special place in the heart of Vermont communities."

The initiative is a collaboration between the Vermont Community Planning and Revitalization Division, the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program, the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the University of Vermont's Community Based Learning Program. Among the resources the group has compiled is a guide to funding opportunities for village green projects.

The Department of Housing and Community Development has also completed case studies for greens in Cambridge, Craftsbury, Danville, South Royalton, Strafford, Woodstock and two greens in Chelsea. Each case study includes an illustrated site map and a narrative about the village green with additional information about the town. The studies are the work of a summer intern, Kate O’Brien, who visited the seven village greens and, according to the department's website, "conversed with locals and captured photographs of the surrounding landscape to reveal each of the greens unique spirit and local story."