Strolling Of The Heifers Founders To Buy Brattleboro River Garden

Jul 23, 2013

Brattleboro’s Robert H. Gibson River Garden will be under new management soon.   

Building a Better Brattleboro, the venue’s owner, announced on Monday that the sponsors of  Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers, plan to buy the downtown gathering space.

The River Garden was developed by Building a Better Brattleboro in 1999.  The glass-enclosed building replaced a flat-roofed, 1960’s-style drug store, seen by some as out of step with the downtown architecture.

Building a Better Brattleboro president Donna Simons described the project as a downtown revitalization effort, financed mainly by public funds.

Simons said the plan was to open up a walkway between Main Street and the Connecticut River, which runs behind the town.

“ There would be public bathrooms,” Simons said. “There would be access to the river, and the way of supporting the building would be incubator stores  that would begin in this building with a small footprint, pay rent, and then begin to fill some of the vacant stores throughout the downtown area.”

But the shops never materialized, and maintaining the building has been a drain on the downtown group’s resources.

The space is used for concerts and events, including the Brattleboro Literary Festival and the town’s winter Farmer’s market

Orly Munzing  founded the nonprofit Strolling of the Heifers to promote local agriculture. She says her group will work with Building a Better Brattleboro and the community to keep the space accessible and expand on the original vision.

“We have the infrastructure and the logistics to create events here that will support the community and provide some income,” Munzing said. “We want to have a lot of farm to plate dinners here. I also want to really promote the food producers of Vermont.”

Details of the sale are still being worked out.