City Hall Park Improvements

Welcome to the BPRW City Hall Park Project Update Page!

BPRW will be posting all the latest information on City Hall Park right here to help inform you on upcoming plans and construction details of the project.

Plans for City Hall Park have been refined extensively since 2011 as a result of public and stakeholders’ input. First through the Imagine City Hall Park Process in the summer of 2011, and then as part of the Great Streets Initiative.

To address questions and comments we’ve heard to date, we’ve created an FAQs page. It’s full of information and large scale renderings of the plans. We’ll continue to update it as more questions come in. View or download the fact sheet: CityHallPark-Improvements-Handout

Burlington Re-Opens City Hall Park

October 16, 2020

Revived park designed to invite more use with double the seating, accessible pathways, multi-functional central fountain, healthier trees, three stormwater gardens, and more

Burlington, VT – Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the re-opening of City Hall Park. The park’s transformation follows an imagining process that first began in 2011, years of public engagement and design work, and a year of construction, all aimed at bringing more life to this central public space in the heart of Burlington’s downtown.

“Jane Jacobs wrote that, ‘City parks need the boon of life conferred on them,’ and our primary goal with the transformation of City Hall Park was exactly that – to give it more life,” said Mayor Weinberger. “For many years, City Hall Park was amazing on summer Saturdays with the farmers market, but too often underused at other times. We could see that one of the great strengths of our city is public spaces like this one, and that we could create features that would help more people enjoy it, from a fountain that would be a destination for families, to twice as many benches where people can sit and talk, to spaces to support eating and small gatherings throughout the day. Even as the City works to steer Burlington through the coronavirus emergency, we also remain focused on long-term projects like this one that are an investment in our future. I hope the revived City Hall Park serves as a beacon of hope and renewal in these times.”

Overall, the revived City Hall Park is designed to be greener, more accessible, and better suited to its use in the center of the city. The features of the new City Hall Park include:

  • Gardens: 384 shrubs and 3,435 perennials and ornamental grasses. All of the perennials, grasses, and shrubs were sourced from local growers. Many of them are species native to our region, and will be well-suited to the site, create pollinator habitat, and display color from May through October. The park includes a comprehensive irrigation system that will ensure the long-term health of the trees and turf.
  • Stormwater: Three stormwater gardens to retain and filter stormwater, and one of the gardens includes additional below-ground structures to further hold stormwater during intense storm events. The park also features a seat wall that will help prevent stormwater from discharging onto Main Street and permeable pavers that will allow stormwater to infiltrate into the soil. Overall, the design will result in a 30 percent reduction in peak flow during a 1-year storm event and 52 percent reduction during a 10-year storm event – contributing to a healthier park and healthier Lake Champlain.
  • Trees: 22 new trees, and 48 trees in total, only a slight reduction from the 51 trees formerly in the park. The trees now are planted in healthier soil that will no longer erode in every storm, in enough soil to support them to maturity, and with an eye toward the importance of having a diversity of tree species and ages in the park.
  • Seating: Twice as much seating within the park boundaries, including seatwalls and longer benches made from sustainably sourced wood.
  • Paths: Wider and more accessible pathways that maintain the historic connectivity across the park. The paths are realigned so that they are less steep, support better tree health, and allow for better maintenance.
  • Spaces: Flexible spaces accommodate a variety of activities in the park, from an interactive fountain, to cultural programming, to a terrace and central plaza that could host food service for people to enjoy in the park and bring additional activation to the space.
  • Fountain: A multi-functional fountain that can be used for active play, as well as light and water shows that will add visual impact.
  • Public art: Art installed in the park includes the new Watersheds to the Lake, made from Champlain marble, gold paint, and granite cobble by artists Kat Clear and Tessa O’Brien, which highlights the relationship between Lake Champlain’s health and the impact of human activities along the watersheds that feed it.
  • Landscape: The park design concentrates foot traffic away from grassy areas and creates space for gatherings, including through the use of permeable pavers, and actually reduces the amount of impervious surface in the park from 43 percent in the old park (25 percent hardscape and 18 percent compacted soils) to 32.5 percent in the new park.
  • And more! The park includes a new restroom, lighting, irrigation, utilities, and much more to make it a safe, inviting, and functional space.

“Parks build community at all times, and that’s even more true in the middle of a pandemic,” said Cindi Wight, Director of Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront. “We are thrilled to be reopening our core downtown park, creating an outdoor green space where our community can gather safely and supporting the outdoor lifestyle that so many Burlingtonians cherish.”

Project Background and Budget

The City Hall Park revitalization is the culmination of an effort that began with hundreds of Burlingtonians participating in the Imagine City Hall Park planning process in 2011, continued with the Great Streets planning process, and included more than 20 public meetings that spanned 2016-2018. Over the course of that process, landscape architects Wagner Hodgson and the City team worked to develop a design for the park that would be inspirational, responsive, and enduring.

Park construction began in July 2019, with a budget of $5.75 million for everything from planning work that began in May 2016 to the remediation of contaminated soils. The City used a combination of grant funds, stormwater revenues, TIF economic development funds, Champlain College payments, and philanthropic contributions secured by the Mayor. City staff performed additional work in-house in order to realize further savings. The funding sources used are virtually all restricted funds that can only be used for capital improvements or downtown infrastructure projects, and overall, the cost of the park to property taxpayers is less than $1 million.

Except for a short delay caused by the pandemic construction shut down, construction went very smoothly, resulting in a rare $125,000 mid-construction budget reduction, and completion of the project with the durable, high-quality finishes that were originally designed but at risk of being cut for budget reasons.

A detailed summary of the project budget is available online.

Dedication of City Hall Park Renovations to Burlington Residents Who Died of Covid-19

The re-opening of City Hall Park comes as Burlington is seven months into a pandemic that has required wearing masks, physical distancing, and many other actions that couldn’t have been imagined at this time last year – including ceasing many of the gatherings that are a core strength of cities and of central public spaces like City Hall Park.

At the re-opening ceremony, Mayor Weinberger announced that the park renovations are dedicated to the Burlington residents who died as a result of Covid-19. “The time is coming when it will be hard to remember this pandemic, its dramatic impact on our lives, and the members of the community who we have lost to it,” Mayor Weinberger said, and unveiled a plaque installed in the park. The plaque reads:

“A comprehensively redesigned City Hall Park re-opened after a year of construction amidst the largest global pandemic in 100 years. At the time of the opening, the City had been living under an emergency order for more than six months, masks were required in all public places, and group gatherings were severely restricted. This park renovation is dedicated to the Burlingtonians who died as a result of the novel Covid-19 coronavirus. In the years to come, as children play in jets of water and crowds assemble to enjoy each other and our city’s great music, food, and events, let us never forget that these joyous scenes are fragile, and that their continuation can only be guaranteed through an ongoing, vigilant commitment to public health and science.”

Support for City Hall Park

The reopening ceremony for City Hall Park included many people who were involved in the vision for the transformed park. Students from King Street Center, a neighbor of the park, were there to countdown as the new fountain officially started for the first time, and other park neighbors and people who worked to create the park shared their reflections on the park transformation. These included:

“I can only think in superlatives when I think about the new City Hall Park,” said Doreen Kraft, Director of Burlington City Arts. “We began the journey to redesign our City’s crown jewel 10 years ago with Imagine City Hall Park, and have more than accomplished what we set out to do. This new park allows for a greater diversity of experiences, increased safety and accessibility, greener infrastructure, and more interactive features that will bring us all together in the midst of tremendous art, historic reminders, and verdant beauty.”

“The vitality of City Hall Park reflects the vitality of Burlington,” said Thomas Leavitt, President and CEO of Northfield Savings Bank. “A healthy, safe, inclusive ‘front yard’ for all citizens is essential to our City’s character. We are a vested neighbor and look forward to supporting programming that will enhance access and equity in this beautiful new space.”

“We are honored to have been involved in ushering in a new era for City Hall Park and are excited to see people enjoying the Park once again,” said Jeff Hodgson, Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture. “This is truly the ‘living room’ of the community and we thank all of the people who worked so hard to bring it to fruition.”

“We have learned a great deal in the nearly 40 years since any significant changes were made to City Hall Park,” said V.J. Comai, City Arborist. “We have learned about the importance of mitigating stormwater runoff and how plants can be incorporated into built structures to help achieve this goal. We have learned about proper planting of trees to ensure their long-term health and which species are best suited to specific sites. We have learned how to incorporate trees into hardscape areas in public spaces that will provide them with adequate soil volumes to support them to maturity. We have learned about the importance of having a diversity of trees species and age classes of trees in our urban spaces. And we have learned about the importance of supporting the health of pollinator populations through the use of native plants that supply what they need to thrive. We believe in science, so we incorporated all of what we have learned into the design and reconstruction of this park and the results are visible here today. The ecological health of this park has been restored, and most importantly, it has been done in such a way that it will be sustainable and will thrive for future generations.”

“What a thrill to see the City’s commitment for a beautiful new park finally come to reality,” said Ernie Pomerleau, Pomerleau Real Estate and Pomerleau Family Foundation. “Having played in this park as a child when it was filled with huge Elm trees, we continue to enjoy it in its new form, and many changes have occurred through a natural process over time. Now, to have been able to help create a truly beautiful and handicap accessible park and fountain for children, in memory of our sister Anne Marie who was a quadriplegic, is truly a wonderful moment for our family and community.”

“I’m excited to walk through the park, climb the stairs, and balance by the water fountain with the children again,” said Myle Truong, a teacher at the nearby King Street Center. “It will be great for them to recognize that space as a part of their community.”

# # #

Press Release Date:
City Department:
Mayor’s Office

Scroll down for our regular updates about the project’s progress.

Join us for the grand Re-Opening Celebration on October 16&17

for two days there will be a host of performances, films, community projects and tours. Get more details from BCA.

June 2020 Update


It’s nice to see some construction moving along as planned. The crews at City Hall Park are on track to wrap things up by October!

Immediate parking impacts on St. Paul St

Starting THIS Friday, all of the diagonal parking on the east/park side of St. Paul Street will be converted to a staging space for materials to complete work on the park. While crews have been careful to minimize impacts on parking surrounding the park, as the work progresses and final surface materials are installed, there is less space to keep materials within the park boundaries without damaging work that has been done.


Here’s a quick update about what progressed in the park in June

Contractor and subcontractor crews have been hard at work for the past month, and many of the park’s finished surfaces are being installed. Much of the concrete paving, including some uniquely tinted a dark gray sections, have been installed to form the main walkways that cross the park, and the spacious new pedestrian-friendly sidewalk on Main Street.


The striking clean lines of the park’s masonry walls, featuring a hierarchy of board-form concrete, topped with Ansa stone and granite, are mostly completed. Beautifully refined precast concrete steps and floating stepping blocks draw you into the park from Main Street and across the southern rain garden.  Most of the granite seatwalls and veneers were installed.

Under all the lawn, trees, plants and stone, lies an extensive network of utilities, all awaiting imminent activation and testing. Soon, the fountain jets will be pumping showing off the lighting system that will highlight the moving water, brighten the walkways  and help make the park feel safe and inviting. Last bits of electrical work including the lampposts and extensive electrical panels to control all the elements of the park are nearly completed.Conduit leading to City Hall

Electrical work that started in June will wrap up, including connecting the lampposts and extensive electrical panels to control all the elements of the park, such as the lighting and irrigation. These panels will eventually be concealed behind decorative fencing.


The project team of both City staff, contractors and consultants, are busy finalizing all of the finishing details that will set a new high bar for urban spaces in Downtown Burlington. With an eye on reducing the environmental and maintenance footprint of City Hall Park, the project team is evaluating the initial cost, lifetime costs in addition to aesthetic and ecological criteria in detail selection. Some examples of detailing including: the final colors for small items including gravel fill for the permeable paves, fill colors for concrete joints, planter colors and more. Most of these items are subtle things park users might not ever notice, but our landscape architects and planners recognize that these details matter to the overall look and function of all the park elements and how diverse elements bring the park ‘together’ through careful detail selection.

We’ve selected moveable furniture. A total of 74 chairs and 22 tables will be available for use throughout the park and specifically for areas near the fountain and the spaces along Park Lane we call Firehouse Plaza and College Street Terrace. Check out the colors and styles.

What’s coming up this July

Fresh topsoil is being added to the softscape where work has been completed. About 40% is done thus far. Sod will eventually be placed in all of the planned grassy areas throughout the park.

Planting of the rain gardens and new trees has begun!  Our City Arborist ordered the plants and the tree team will water them until the irrigation system gets turned on later in July.


The Portland Loo will be arriving soon. Good news is that this purchase included the additional heating elements to keep the restroom facility open year-round! The Loo’s exterior mounted handwashing sink will be shut off and winterized during the cold months, but hand sanitizer will always be available.

Once these elements are completed,the final sections of concrete pouring for the center ellipse and performance space can begin.

After the central ellipse is poured, crews can start the installation of the pervious pavers. We’ve been working closely with the City stormwater team to maximize our stormwater management on-site. Proper Installation is a critical step in long-term functionality, coupled with a rigorous long-term maintenance plan to ensure the permeable sections function properly.

We’re planning for a test run of the fountain in August! We’ll be there to record the test and will share the sneak peek in a future update.



May 2020 Update

Construction During COVID-19 

SD Ireland resumed construction in City Hall Park on May 11. As part of the new reality of working during a pandemic both contractor and inspector will be following CDC and State Guidelines on being safe in their work practices.   

Impacts to Street Parking & Street Traffic 

Effective immediately, the crew will be using the parking on College and as construction work heightens, the parking along St. Paul will likely utilized for additional crew members 

Beginning on June 2, the intersection at Main and St. Paul Streets will temporarily become a signed four-way stop as contractors relocate a signal box near the park entranceWork there should only take a few days and will return to usual traffic signals  by the weekend.  

What’s Being Worked On 

City Arborist will do some investigatory air spading to assess potential construction impacts on two trees on the east side of the park 

Work will begin on the College Street Terrace, approved by City Council in December. This part of the project was re-added to the construction contract after cost savings had been realized early in the project. Additionally, improvements will be made between the seating wall along Main Street/ the southern boundary of the park, and the curb line, to unify the spaces before Great Streets Standards are implemented there in the future. 

Affects to the Timeline 

The delayed start of construction from March 23rd to May 11 comes with a shift in the estimated time for completion and reopening of City Hall ParkThe new completion target is early October 2020. 

Winter Recap

Here’s some good news: City Hall Park Rehabilitation is currently on or slightly ahead of schedule. Contractors have successfully navigated through most of the unpredictable early site work, including extensive excavation work. Because of the smooth sailing, several of the material and design choices that were ‘value engineered’ out of the project before construction started, have been reinserted due to minimal/no expenditures for urban soil hauling/disposal and other efficiencies realized during active construction.

The slow start to winter has enabled contractors to extend the construction season a bit. The relatively warm and dry conditions created an opportunity for more work to be completed in 2019 and early in 2020, a longer construction season than originally anticipated, keeping the planned re-opening on track for late summer 2020.

Holiday Parking. Holiday Shopping  

Our contractor and resident engineer did a standup job of reopening highly valuable parking spaces (eleven in total) in time for the busy Holiday shopping season. Thank you.

St. Paul street parking opened up

Another big thank you to the Burton Flagship store, Northfield Savings Bank and City Hardware for their roles in providing discounts and free food to the contractors and other team members whose hard work have made this project successful. On December 11th during a special “worker appreciation event”, the Burton Store and City Hardware provided merchandise discounts, while Northfield Savings Bank served hot dogs at their College Street location across from the park. We are grateful for the support (and patience!) of the local businesses all around the park. It’s been a pleasure to get to know everyone through our direct outreach!

The fist snow of the season, didn’t stop the work

Winter Preparation

While winter will see little or no construction activity at City Hall Park itself, preparation for the anticipated late summer/early fall opening of the park will continue over the winter. Vermont-based stone fabricators will be busy fulfilling a substantial order of granite and stone for use as caps and veneer on the concrete retaining and sitting walls, sitting blocks, curbing and other features. Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront’s Trees & Greenways team has been busy ordering the 20 trees, 328 shrubs, 2022 perennials and 594 ornamental grasses that will grace the parks when construction work is complete, in addition to the 1353 shrubs, perennials and grasses that will working hard to help filter and capture stormwater in the rain gardens.

The selection of stone samples to choose from

College Street Terrace

Thanks to savings early in the project, the terrace at the northeast corner of the park will be constructed this summer, opening up another unique gathering space within the park.

A new start in the Spring

Work will resume as soon as weather allows, likely in early April, when installation of Silva Cells (underground chambers of special soil mix that helps trees thrive in urban areas by allowing roots to branch out under hard surfaces) resumes and work continues on installing gravel base for the concrete and paver surfaces in the park. BPRW’s team will install plant material as finish grades are achieved. Currently the project is on schedule to wrap up by early fall!

Soil cells will be ready and waiting for material in the spring

November Update

The new City Hall Park continues to take shape, with most progress in the past month taking place underground; structures that will eventually be all but invisible to park users, but so important to the focal point and longevity of the urban space, have been installed. Vaults that will hold the water electrical systems that run the central fountain are constructed. The jets and lights, remotely programmable, are ready to be activated once the park is completed.
Winter is Coming
As crews are working diligently to progress as much as possible on completing the fine grading and hardscape while the weather allows, they are also stabilizing the site for the winter. In mid-to-late December, construction will pause for the winter months and select parking and sidewalk facilities will once again be accessible to the public until construction resumes in the spring. Sidewalks on Main St. and St. Paul St. will be fully open. The sidewalk on the south (park) side of College St. will remain closed for the winter to allow the contractor space to store equipment and the construction trailer.
Under the Surface: Green Stormwater Features and the Splash Fountain
The park’s design includes green stormwater infrastructure (gsi) through rain gardens to support long term tree health and viability while managing stormwater from typical rain events on-site. Additionally, the rain gardens will provide multi-sensory interest, pollinator and bird habitat and carbon sequestration. Again, the hidden, underground components of this infrastructure perform vital work, and now is the time to glimpse the underground hardware before they become buried in topsoil and plantings. The largest rain garden is along the western boundary of the park, at the Main/St. Paul Intersection, which can easily be seen before it receives two inches of soil.
The main features in the park have a myriad of supporting infrastructure underground. Much of this is already installed and will never be seen by the public eye. Here’s a peek at the control vault and the backflow prevention vault that have been installed.
The fountain jets are also installed. Each one has lights and can be programmed remotely to turn off and on and vary the timing.
 City Hall Park Fountain Jets
The largest rain garden can be seen on the west side of City Hall Park along St. Paul Street. This deep feature is ready to have about 2 feet of soil added to it, creating ample capacity for this large rain garden to capture and absorb stormwater runoff.
City Hall Park West Rain Garden
The southern rain garden infrastructure has been installed with overflow piping connected to the catch basins.
Hardscape: The Park Flow Along the Walkways
The contractor is installing ample depths of subbase, typically compacted, crushed gravel, to promote drainage and structural stability, under the paved areas of the park, including the primary diagonal path. Many of the hard surfaces are covered with pervious systems, typically concrete unit pavers laid on a special, well-drained base system designed to allow water to flow through quickly, and occasionally, the space between the open larger crushed rocks, can help stormwater pass to the ground after heavy rainfall. The size and location of the wakways and gathering spaces have been carefully considered and designed to provide enough surface for the large number of people who use the park, to reduce negative impacts associated with turf destruction, soil compaction and the associated erosion that plagued both the turf and the trees in the old park.
In the spring, the crew will begin to work on the paths that feature a variety of materials. Recently, staff and landscape architects reviewed a selection of pavers.
The grey pavers will be used for certain sections near the fountain and the red bricks for the north-south Park Lane. These warm tones will complement the brickwork of the BCA Firehouse building. There will also be accents of granite and custom concrete, and metal too. All these elements will add visual textural appeal and spatial delineation.
Pathway Pavers
The Trees
Last week our tree team assisted with air spading treatment around some of the trees. At first glance, it might not look much different on the surface, but the treatment refreshes the soils and removes the heavy compaction that has occurred over the decades of high traffic. In addition, the soil surrounding these trees have been amended with nutrient rich soils. Most of the 31 remaining trees will get this treatment.
We’re getting ready to plant new trees in the park. A stack of Silva Cells is awaiting the delivery of special structural soil to be installed beneath the pavement. Silva Cells and structural soil work together to help reduce soil compaction, while supporting traffic loads (and in some cases, also helping to accommodate utilities). By reducing compaction, roots are healthier, trees are healthier and in turn, the soil retains the air pockets it needs to hold and absorb stormwater. These systems will support the few trees that are to be planted in the paved areas, while an additional 18 trees will be planted in new soils throughout the park landscape.
Silva Cells
The Walls
All of the concrete work for the three retaining/seat walls is complete. The seatwalls are: the Main Street wall, a wall next to BCA, and the main seat wall at the edge of the fountain area. These will all have future levels of finishing details such as granite tops and side veneer. The BCA wall will be accented with metal for a unique touch.
 Main Seat Wall
Of course there’s more to these than meet the eye. Each has substantial bases and proper drainage to ensure their durability.
With about one more month before winter shut-down, the construction team will be adding some additional features to prepare for the work in the spring, including; installing irrigation vaults, and adding bases for lighting, the flag pole and public art.

9/26 Update

Upcoming parking changes and sidewalk closure
From October 7 – October 11, Main St. west bound will be restricted to one lane, giving the contractor room to work on the substantial rain garden at that corner. Additionally, the adjacent sidewalk at the NE corner of Main and St. Paul, and several of the Main St. parking spaces on the park side will be closed. Carshare VT pod (Ginger) will be temporarily relocated a few spaces east towards City Hall.
Please use caution when traveling through the construction area. Since the roadway will be narrowed to one lane, a flagger will be posted at the intersection to direct traffic turning left. Please note that westbound tractor trailers may not be able to turn right.
Concrete work
SD Ireland is doing one of the things it does best… concrete!
The retaining wall at the south end is nearing completion. Check out the beautiful board-formed patterns next time you walk down Main Street. This wall not only functions to add seating along the edge of the park, it forms the base of the rain garden at the south west corner that will catch and filter rainwater before it reaches the stormwater pipes.
The general contractor is preparing for the arrival of the specialty subcontractor that will begin work installing the plumbing, pumps and controls for the splash pad. The concrete stairs are taking shape in the center of the park and the plaza behind the BCA building for the Artists Market and other events like their weekly concerts in the park.
Urban soils
Urban soils in the park have been remediated through deep burial and capping. This strategy protects the public while avoiding the cost and footprint of trucking and landfilling soil impacted by decades of industrial land use.
The trees
After obtaining City Council approval on Monday night, BPRW tree crews removed two struggling sugar maples after a recommendation by City Arborist VJ Comai.
These trees have been in decline for several years and have required the removal of dead wood from their canopies in each of the last three years as their decline has been accelerating. City Arborist V.J. Comai determined both of these trees to be in poor condition in  his assessment of the trees in the park during the DRB proceedings and that condition rating was confirmed by an independent arborist hired by Keep The Park Green.
By removing the trees now, it will give the contractor the ability to mitigate the urban soils in these areas by burying them on site and will avoid the added expense of a more challenging removal and the measurable extra challenge to manage remaining urban soils once the park is completed and soil mitigation should they be left until after the project has been completed.
Two additional, more urban tolerant trees will be planted to take their places, fulfilling the requirements placed on the new park project by City Council.
Past Street Closures & Utility Connections
Utility connection took a few days longer than predicted, but all the work was completed, including two unrelated repairs that otherwise would have gone undetected. Crews managed to address the re-discovered communication vault that needed repair during that same street closure, preventing a future road block.
Other utility work focused around the foundations of our buildings City Hall and the BCA
Firehouse. That included cutting and capping of old utilities that might have been leaking and a new gas line port was installed for BCA. These new utilities mean we’re adding a drinking fountain into the park. We’ve already picked the color. Can’t go wrong with grey!
With fewer than 70 working days until winter shut down there’s still much work to do, we’ll be back in October with another update.


8/30 Update: College Street Re-Closure

Here’s the Good News:

City Hall Park contractors working on the utility connection work on College Street pulled out of the works site early on Thursday, 8/29 and the street has been reopened to all traffic. The street excavated area has been repaved to ensure there is a safe surface for the upcoming Burlington Criterium bike race on Monday, the annual urban race through the downtown area on as part of the Green Mountain Stage Races. ( ). The street is fully open and parking restored on the north side of College between St. Paul St. and Church St.

The Not-So-Good News:

During the work this week, contractor was not able to do the final connection to the water lines to connect into City Hall Park. They will need to re-excavate the site next week to finish up. Work will begin after the holiday weekend, on September 3rd.  Starting at 7am on Tuesday, the contractor will reopen the exaction near the entrance to City Hardware.

In addition, while performing routine sewer cleaning and inspection work last week, the City discovered a broken sewer main in front of Community Bank, N.A., just east of the City Hall Park utility work. This urgent repair will take place at the same time as the final City Hall Park work to minimize interruptions.

In order to access the site, the entire block of College street west of Church will be closed to traffic. This will impact the local bank drive-through for that day. Work should be completed quickly, and they can reopen the roadway as soon as possible to allow access to the drive-through. We are looking forward to a quick repair, and appreciate your patience as we work hard to make Burlington (and our underground infrastructure) better.

And… Another Discovery:

During the utility connection work for the park, the contractor also discovered a failing communication vault that will need to be replaced. This is also located east of the current utility connection area. This repair/replacement is being coordinated by DPW and the communication utility companies.  Be prepared for further details about this work, which will likely involve an additional closure of a portion of College St. in September.

Questions? CONTACT US

For question regarding the two newest additions to the city’s underground utility work – the sewer and communication vault repairs – please reach out to Robert Goulding 802-863-9094 .

General Inquiries and Feedback:   Diana Wood (802) 865-7089

Business Related Concerns:  Jon Adams-Kollitz (802) 540-0363

Mid-August Update

8/26 – 8/30 Saint Paul St. – South Winooski Avenue

To provide water supply to the splash pad and other utility infrastructure upgrades serving the new City Hall Park, contractors will close College Street from Monday 8/26 at 7am through the end of the day on Friday, 8/30.
Local traffic will be able to access College between South Winooski and the drive-through ATM just east of the Burton Store and other driveways. Excavation will occur at or near City Hardware and the road will be impassable.
There will be NO PARKING on College street west of Church St to allow for vehicle turnaround.
The sidewalk on the northern side of College St will remain open.
We are NOT expecting there to be any disruption of water service during this project. But be warned that water may be discolored, due to disturbances in the lines.
Additionally, DPW will be posting electronic message boards on College Street the week of the 19th to notify of the upcoming closure.
BPRW staff will be visiting affected businesses on Monday, August 19 in the late afternoon. If you are unable to connect with them in person, feel free to contact them via email or telephone.


All existing hardscape has been removed and salvageable materials moved off-site. The contractor is currently working on the management of urban soils, that will be buried under 6″ of clean topsoil when the park is complete. This process is overseen by a qualified environmental professional and done in accordance with a plan developed with and approved by the State of Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
The City is making sure to remedy longstanding issues along the way, including the abandonment of a leaking water line that serviced the old fountain, and sealing the City Hall foundation that the pipe previously passed through.

You also may have noticed the fence expansion toward City Hall. This was done in preparation for work to begin on the southern concrete retaining wall. The City Hall ’emergency only’ exit has been moved to egress through the alley between the building and BCA.

Late July update


Contractors enclosed City Hall Park with construction fencing on July 10th in preparation for the major overhaul scheduled to be completed in 2020. Previous to that, staff from Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront (BPRW) and Community & Economic Development Office(CEDO) reached out to businesses surrounding the park to inform of them of the impending construction start date. BPRW also worked with Howard Center Street Outreach Team and the Burlington Police Department to meet with the daily park users in order to facilitate their transition of out of the construction zone, and where appropriate, make them aware of facilities and programs in the City.

On Monday, July 15, the BPRW Trees & Greenways Team, led by City Arborist V.J. Comai, removed 20 existing trees, half of which were determined to be in poor or fair/poor condition in a 2018 assessment.  Remaining trees were pruned to remove deadwood to improve structure and health. The BPRW tree crew worked efficiently in two teams, finishing the work the following morning, saving the City over $10,000 by performing this work, while best insuring remaining trees and their root systems were not impacted. Comai reported that several of the trees removed had significant trunk decay and crown decline, and would have had to be removed as hazardous trees due to a high likelihood of structural failure. BPRW looks forward to the stewardship of a park planted with new trees that are more appropriate to urban conditions, have a more diverse array of species and age class, and are supported with an investment in underground infrastructure for healthy roots.


The general contractor followed with demolition of existing concrete and other masonry infrastructure, which will be crushed and recycled into structural sub-base for use in local projects. Valuable items, such as granite cobbles and clay brick, were salvaged and will be reused elsewhere. Historic elements, such as the fountain and monument, were all packaged and moved to another City facility for storage during the construction. The monument will be reinstalled in City Hall Park next spring, while the fountain will relocated elsewhere in the future.


Parking – Currently the contractor has kept the parking and sidewalk on St. Paul St open while work continues on St. Paul Street. This is subject to change as the project progresses. Limits of construction will eventually include approximately 30 parking spaces including the current blocked 3 spaces on College street near the fence gate, and another 3 on Main street near the south construction gate. For information about all the nearby available parking, please see the newly designed Park Burlington Map.

Sidewalks – There is complete sidewalk closure on the south side of College Street. Main street sidewalk will remain open, with minimal closures as needed to accommodate construction.

Construction Traffic – There will be increased trucks traveling around the park. They will predominately be using Main street and St. Paul street, but will occasionally use College street to access the site.

Find our more info about the project plans and history on our FAQ’s page!


Below is an estimate project schedule. Subject to change.

  • Mid-July 2019 – salvage and demolition
  • Summer through Fall 2019 – soil remediation, deep utility work (electric, irrigation, fountain plumbing etc)
  • Winter 2019 – site will closed and secured
  • Early Spring through late Summer 2020 – work to resume on completing earthwork, raingardens, lighting, walkways, fountain, final landscaping and tree planting etc
  • Fall 2020 – park to reopen, with lawn closed to pedestrians


General Inquiries and Feedback: Diana Wood

Business Related Concerns: Jon Adams-Kollitz

UPDATE 7/11/19

Crews putting up fencing to prepare for work on improvements to City Hall Park

On July 10th, crews began putting up construction fencing at City Hall Park to prepare for construction of park improvements. The park will be closed to the public starting today, with a goal of re-opening in fall of 2020. With this work, the City will be embarking on the first substantial improvement to the park in years.

Construction Period Impacts

Sidewalks – The construction will require complete sidewalk closure on the east side of St. Paul Street and the south side of College Street. The sidewalk on Main Street will remain open, with construction entrances that cross the sidewalk and minimal closures as needed to accommodate construction.

Parking – Construction will result in the temporary closure of some parking spaces adjacent to the park, beginning with the east side of St. Paul Street and College Street near the north side of the park. The City is working with the contractor to minimize space closures until public parking is re-opened on the blocks of St. Paul Street that are currently under construction, and the public should be aware of signs and meter bags that will indicate which parking spaces are available. Three spaces on Main Street near City Hall will also be impacted by a construction gate. For information about all the nearby available parking, please see the newly designed Park Burlington Map.

The park sits quiet, awaiting its restoration.

Construction Hours
SD Ireland may be on-site at any time between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm Monday through Friday, and between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm on Saturdays . If the contractor needs to work outside of these hours notification will be posted on the projects website.

Summary of City Hall Park Improvements

The City Hall Park improvement project is designed to reinvigorate this vital public space in the heart of Burlington’s downtown. When work is complete, City Hall Park will be home to 48 healthy trees with room to grow (compared with 51 trees today, more than half of which are in declining health), more than 1,500 new perennials and grasses, two new rain gardens to mitigate stormwater runoff and soil erosion, pervious pavers that help increase accessibility and focus foot traffic away from lawns, realigned park paths that allow for greater accessibility and healthier trees, better accommodations for the Farmers Market on busy summer Saturdays, a multi-functional fountain, new public art, and double the amount of seating within the park. The City Hall Park improvements will create a park that is greener, more accessible, and better suited to its use in the center of the city.

This project is the culmination of a revitalization effort that began with more than 500 Burlingtonians participating in the Reimagine City Hall Park planning process in 2011, and continuing through more than 20 public meetings that spanned 2016-2018. For a full history of the project and more information, see:


Public Outreach

Previous to any specific announcements about construction starting, staff from BPRW, DPW and CEDO spent time speaking with local business surrounding the parks. We did door-to-door outreach, scheduled two public meetings, and presented at the Burlington Business Association, informing everyone about the proposed timeline and impacts to the vicinity. This presentation: 20190612 CHP June Business Meeting – updated for DAG 071219


To find information about ALL of the construction projects and improvements happening in Burlington, check out the City’s Construction Portal

3 thoughts on “City Hall Park Improvements

  1. Is there a coffee kiosk in the updated plan? Why?
    And, the plan states that the Farmers Market will be moved to the outside of the park. What is there to protect the greenbelt, the berm, between the sidewalk and the street? Is there any way to only use the pavement for the Farmers Market and it’s users?

  2. Ellen, the FAQ page addresses some of your questions specifically:

    Q: Why is there a café proposed within the park?

    A: The small kiosk, and seating areas that can be utilized for temporary food carts, are intended to provide a range of activities within the park on a more regular basis. Along with more frequent, small performances and more seating the park, these can help draw people into the park for day-to-day activities.

    Q: Why is the park being designed for the Farmer’s Market? Isn’t there somewhere else it could go?

    A: In recent years, the Farmer’s and Artist’s Markets have become central features of the park, recognized by many Burlingtonian’s as something they love about the park today. The popularity of this event is among the uses of the park contributing to some of the challenges with the park’s infrastructure. That said, the park is not being designed for the market.

    One of the fundamental changes in the plan is that the market vendors will be organized around the park’s four edges, on hardscaped areas which can support this use, rather than on the pathways in the center of the park. This arrangement will allow for more utilization of the park’s open spaces for seating and passive uses on market days, and reduce future impacts to the grass and soil conditions due to foot traffic in the park. Additionally, there are fewer vendors accommodated in this plan than the market currently features today.

    Also mentioned in the FAQ’s:
    The flexible spaces organized along these pathways accommodate a variety of activities such as small performances, a wide range of seating types, the artist market, and a central gathering area with an interactive fountain. This allows for infrastructure, which supports these activities to be condensed and incorporated into hardscape areas, retaining maximum un-programmed space and limiting future soil compaction from these activities encroaching on the lawn.

    The plans call for a retaining wall at the southern end and fencing at the northern side to delineate pedestrian traffic between the sidewalks and the park landscaping.

    I hope that answers your questions. but please reach out if you would like more information.

  3. This looks terrific! Reminds me of a smaller version of Washington Park in Cincinnati, one of my favourite urban parks in the world. Can’t wait to see this come to fruition!

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