It's been a couple years in the making, but Montpelier Alive will open the state's first "parklet" on Friday. Never heard of a parklet? Basically, it's one or more parking spaces that have been turned over to an exterior decorator. The parklet's designer has paid a season's worth of meter fees to create a downtown micro-park.
In this case, a space on the Rialto Bridge on State Street was leased by Ward Joyce, a Professor of Architecture at Vermont Tech. He turned the project over to a group of students, who created the parklet. According to Montpelier Alive, there are parklets in Montreal, San Francisco and Philadelphia, but this is the first parklet to be created in Vermont.
Montpelier attempted to launch the parklet project last summer, but permitting problems arose around outdoor alcohol consumption and the pilot project was pushed back a year.
Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the parklet at 5 p.m. Professor Joyce and Montpelier Mayor John Hollar are among those scheduled to speak. The ceremony will also kick-off Montpelier's summer Art Walk.
Eighteen stores and restaurants in downtown Montpelier are participating as Art Walk galleries. Free Art Walk guide books are available in many downtown stores.