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Better Places crowdfunding campaign launched for Montpelier’s Bridge Illumination Project

April 4, 2024

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2024

Better Places Crowdfunding campaign launched for Montpelier’s Bridge Illumination Project
$13,350 goal to receive a 2:1 matching grant through DHCD’s Better Places program

Montpelier, Vt. – Thanks to a recently launched crowdfunding campaign, Montpelier residents will soon be able to enjoy a more vibrant and accessible city on winter nights when Montpelier’s historic downtown bridges are illuminated. The campaign is sponsored by the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development’s Better Places program and led by Montpelier Alive.

“Safe and inviting public spaces are essential to the health and well-being of every downtown.” said Department of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Alex Farrell.  “The Montpelier Bridge Illumination Project will add beauty and safety to long winter nights in Montpelier, inviting people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the bridges that connect the city.”

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 funds raised will support the lighting of several historic bridges that span the North Branch and Winooski Rivers in the center of downtown Montpelier. In the winter of 2023, as part of a pilot project, Montpelier Alive lit up the Langdon Street bridge. Glowing lights wrapped around the steel trusses illuminated the center of town and reflected off the North Branch River.  What was once a dark, somewhat forbidding 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 a downtown revitalization non-profit organization. It 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 focus is on the three bridges that illuminate downtown: the Rialto, Langdon, and School Street bridges.  Any remaining funds will help us build the infrastructure to also light the Bailey Avenue, Taylor Street, and Main Street bridges that cross the Winooski River. 

The illuminated bridges will make walking in the city safer and more pleasant and connect neighborhoods that currently feel separate during dark winter evenings. Many of these bridges may also become new community spaces for street fairs, concerts, and neighborhood parties. (Lighting will be limited to times when downtown restaurants and theaters are open to allow dark skies for sleeping and enjoying the night stars.)  The vibrant new cityscape will attract residents and visitors to Montpelier’s historic downtown. 

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." 

Residents, businesses, and neighbors ready to support vibrant public places, community gathering areas, and local opportunities are encouraged to get involved and support this project in Montpelier.  Learn more and donate here.