Public Places Awards

This awards program recognizes special public spaces, the corridors that connect them, or networks of public spaces which have been defined or enriched by planning or design, as well as regulations that promote positive public uses and benefits.

Sponsored by:

  • Vermont Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects
  • Vermont Planners Association
  • American Institute of Architects Vermont
  • Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program


Projects must be located in Vermont and be accessible to the public. Submissions may range from mature projects in place and in use to conceptual studies, plans, regulations to encourage public space, connective corridors, and networks of public spaces, or other endeavors and incentives to create, preserve or enhance individual interior or exterior public space or linked open spaces in Vermont. Submissions may include, but are not limited to open space associated with: Historic Preservation, Community Planning, Recreation Planning & Design and more (see Overview Form for complete list).

Public Places Award Overview

2021 Vermont Public Places Award Winners

Honor Awards

A New Vision for Alburgh Dunes State Park Master Plan, created for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation by a design team led by LandWorks and including Maclay Architects and Engineering Ventures.  The plan has been implemented and the results are quite positive.

Burlington City Hall Park Restoration, submitted by the City of Burlington and based on a plan developed by a team led by Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture and including City of Burlington team from the Departments of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, Public Works, Planning, City Arts and Community and Economic Development.  The implemented plan has increased the use of the park. 

The Charlotte World War I Memorial, owned by the Town of Charlotte and lovingly maintained and renewed each season by Beth Sytsma and Ted Roberts, a local Charlotte family who undertake the work as a gesture of positive civic engagement. Much to the joy of Charlotte residents and motorists to or from the Charlotte Ferry.

Elm Street Park in Randolph, created and designed by the local residents, led and inspired by Rosalind Burgess, who worked tirelessly over the years to turn a vacant lot into a public park.  Her efforts inspired others to join her and to help in the expansion, enhancement and maintenance of the truly public, public place.

Saxtons River Park, a new park on a brownfield in the middle of the Village of Saxtons River, created, constructed and maintained by the community, led by a team that included Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio, Terrigenous Landscape Architecture, LE Environmental, LLC, Green Mountain Engineering, Adams Trucking and Excavation, Allen Brothers Farms, and Springfield Fence, many of whom donated their services.  The Town of Rockingham donated granite blocks from a former bridge abutment.

The new Shelburne Pierson Library and Historic Town Hall, owned by the Town of Shelburne and designed by a team led by Vermont Integrated Architecture, PC.  Opening in 2020, the new library was the culmination of a town wide effort to update and expand the former library with a new structure specifically built to be a library.  Even during the pandemic, the Pierson Library has been open to the public and well used.    

The Union Elementary School Playground Project, developed by the Montpelier Roxbury School District from plans developed by the SE Group with help from the students, parents and faculty of the school.  The playground project not only created a newer and more inviting and interesting play space, but also corrected stormwater problems in the area and remediated unknown brownfield hazards. 

Merit Award

City Center Park, owned by the City of South Burlington and designed by a team lead by LandWorks.  The park is a low impact, natural area, designed to serve all of the city’s population while also be a local neighborhood oasis. 

The DIY Community Cookbook, a do-it-yourself guide to making your community a more livable place, created by Community Workshop and AARP Vermont and written by Community Workshop. The Cookbook is organized to truly empower Vermonters to begin using pop-ups and placemaking techniques for public spaces by providing Vermont communities a resource truly designed for them – an accessible, inspiring guidebook that aims to make public space improvements doable for anyone, no matter what their skill level, budget, or community size.

Dog River Park, owned by the Town of Northfield, based on design work and plans prepared by SLR in conjunction with GPI, and assistance from the Friends of the Winooski River, Norwich University Art & Architecture students, the Northfield High School Class of 1957, and the entire community.  The Town created Dog River Park on floodplain land purchased by FEMA after the floods of Irene.  The park not only provides a community resource, but once again serves as a natural floodplain for the Dog River.

Fairlee Village Center Action Plan, developed for the Town of Fairlee by a team led by DuBois & King.  This plan seeks to help Fairlee create a vibrant downtown that slows visitors down, boosts opportunities for local commerce, and designs a streetscape that is at once beautiful and ecologically beneficial.

2019 Vermont Public Places Award Winners

Honor Awards

ArtisTree Community Arts Center, South Pomfret - Submitted by Jack Rossi

Middlebury Downtown Park, Middlebury - Submitted by Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture

The Vermont Town Forest Project, various towns statewide - Submitted by the SE Group

Merit Awards

Hearse House entrance, Brooks Cemetery, Chester - Submitted by Terrigenous LLC.

Newport Waterfront and Downtown Master Plan, Newport  - Submitted by VHB

Riverfront Green Space, Lyndon - Submitted by the Town of Lyndon

Route 7 Livability Study, St. Albans Town and St. Albans City - Submitted by Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture

Taylor Park Master Plan, St. Albans - Submitted by Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture

Underwood Park Master Plan, South Burlington - Submitted by the SE Group

2017 Vermont Public Places Award Winners

Honor Awards  

Dumont Park Planning & Design, South Burlington - Submitted by LandWorks
Hartford High School Makeover, White River Junction - Submitted by the Creative Improvement Council

Hinesburg Town Forest National Register Nomination, Hinesburg - Submitted by the Vermont State Division of Historic Preservation

Lamoille Valley Railtrail Trailheads and Wayfinding, Lamoille County - Submitted by the Lamoille County Planning Commission

Spruce Peak Village Center, Stowe - Submitted by the SE Group

Stone Valley Bikeway Development Plan, Rutland and Bennington Counties - Submitted by Broadreach Planning & Design

Veterans Memorial, Shelburne - Submitted by T. J. Boyle Associates

Merit Awards 

The Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation, Burlington - Submitted by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission

The Center for Communication and Creative Media at Champlain College, Burlington - Submitted by the SE Group

Lake Champlain Bikeway Bike Rest Areas, Grand Isle and Chittenden Counties - Submitted by Broadreach Planning & Design

Main Street Middle School Site Renovation, Montpelier  - Submitted by Cynthia Knauf Landscape Design

Memorial Park Master Plan, Stowe - Submitted by Broadreach Planning & Design

Town Green , Manchester - Lee Krohn, AICP and the Manchester Conservation Commission

2015 Vermont Public Places Awards Winners

Honor Awards 

City Hall Park, Burlington – City of Burlington, Burlington City Arts, Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture, Lincoln Brown.

Middlebury Riverfront Park, Middlebury – Town of Middlebury, LandWorks, Civil Engineering Associates, Marble Works Partnership.

Open Space Report, South Burlington – City of South Burlington, South Burlington Open Space Committee, T. J. Boyle Associates, Front Porch Planning & Design.

The Vermont Downtown Action Team – Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development, City of Barre, Town of Brandon, Town of Brattleboro, Town of Northfield, Town of Waitsfield, Town of Warren, Town of Waterbury and Town of Wilmington.

Waterbury State Office Complex Redevelopment Project – Waterbury – State of Vermont, Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services, Freeman French Freeman, Goody Clancy, SE Group, Engineering Ventures, Rist-Frost-Shumway.

Merit Awards 

Barre Main Street Reconstruction, Barre – City of Barre, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Barre Partnership, Luck Brothers, Hutch Brothers, Moulison North, Pike Industries, Lafayette Highway Specialties, James Lamontagne Landscape, Vermont Siteworks.

Granite Zipper Pocket Park, Barre – Studio Place Arts, Chris Miller, Dew Corporation, Swenson Granite Company/Rock of Ages, Vermont Community Foundation.

Wright Mountain/Devils Den Town Forest, Bradford – Town of Bradford, Bradford Conservation Commission.

Ripples, Rings & Photons, Burlington –, Terra | Logic Landscape Architecture, Kate Pond.

One Taylor Street: Montpelier Transit Center, Montpelier – City of Montpelier, Redstone, Gossens Bachman Architects, Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture, Dubois & King.

South Burlington City Center- Market Street, South Burlington – City of South Burlington, SE Group, VHB, Shole Systems Design.

Springfield Hospital Centennial Garden – Springfield, Springfield Medical Care Systems, Terrigenous, Engineering Ventures, Woodbury’s, Gurney Brothers.

Barnes Camp Restoration, Stowe – Lamoille County Planning Commission, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Stowe Mountain Resort, Green Mountain Club, Robert Carl Williams Associates, Jay White, Upland Construction.

Woodstock Elementary School Learning Landscape Project, Woodstock – Woodstock Elementary School, Jack Rossi Landscape Architecture, Natural Playground Company, Jason Drebitko.

Past Corridors and Commons Recipients

2010 Winners

The Town of Swanton
Fit and Healthy Recreation Path
Submitted by Ron Kilburn – Swanton Zoning Administrator and President of Swanton Historical Society

Partners: Northwestern Medical Center, Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Agency of Transportation, Swanton School, Swanton Recreation Commission, Swanton Historical Society, Swanton Teen Center, Swanton Village

Almost 12 years ago, the community of Swanton had a vision - offer a link through the village to provide a safe route to school, physical activity and connection to the area's natural, cultural and historical resources. A logical corridor already existed in the community- a historic railroad that once led from Swanton to St. Johnsbury. The railroad was abandoned in 1970’s. Following the abandonment, a tragic fire burned the longest covered railroad bridge in the country; leaving no way for pedestrians or bicyclists to cross the Missisquoi River from South River Street into the Village.

With the help of the Swanton Fit Family Coalition, formed in 2007, and the Swanton Advisory Board, the vision began to take form with the proposal of a one mile community path along the existing railroad bed from one end of the village, past two elementary schools, the recreation fields, a protected wetland, the village square and across the river where it would meet with the Champlain Bikeway. The challenges were also real: the rail bed was overgrown and there was no way to cross the river. With the help of the Town and many community volunteers (youth and adults), a majority of the abandoned rail bed was redeveloped into a fit and healthy community path in 2008.

But they still needed a way to cross the river: luckily with the help of the Agency of Transportation, a solution was already in the works. A circa 1903 truss bridge in Milton needed a new home. After securing funding and completing the restoration, the historic bridge was in place and open for use in the spring of 2009. The bridge now links the downtown area with the Swanton Historical Society Railroad Depot Museum, which offers insight into the past with a caboose, a railroad bridge house and the remains of a roundhouse

To celebrate the completion of the path, the community gathered on September 23, 2009, to participate in the first ‘All School Walk to the Depot’ along the recreation path. Over 500 elementary students participated. Since its opening, the path continues to be utilized by students, individuals and families. The path provides permanent public access to this wonderful community resource and in the distance, the sounds of today’s trains can be heard using their new corridor.

Honorable Mentions:

Island Pond Lakeside Park Improvement Study
Village of Island Pond, VT
Patrick McLean – Stantec who partnered with the Town of Brighton

The Village of Island Pond features one of Vermont’s few commercial downtowns located along a waterfront. As the Village has become increasingly more popular for lake-based ‘adventure tourism’ such as canoeing, snowmobiling, and other activities, residents and local business owners recognized a need to more explicitly connect the lake to the village core – the hub of the economy and community. This project is a study on how to connect these two hubs: beginning with the development and improvement plan for the Lakeside Park and its function as the link between the downtown and the natural beauty of the water.

The planning effort involved soliciting input from business owners, town and village officials and the community at large on strategies for integrating the commercial downtown with the waterfront and for making better use of the park through the year. From this information, the project design team has developed three concept plans for improving the park, which involved various combinations of streetscape connections, active recreation, access and parking for boats, snowmobiles and bicycles, an amphitheater, a marina and other open areas and pathways linking visitors to the village center.

At the heart of the improvement plan is a series of connections between the park, the village, and the lake. Green corridors carry you from one common to the next.

This is just the beginning; the village hopes to inspire a reinvigorated village center that serves as a regional draw for recreation and nature tourism as well as a sense of pride for its residents. We look forward to seeing the plan come to reality and carrying the natural beauty of the area to the village center.

Along the Connecticut River
Windsor, Vermont
Robert D. Haight who partnered with the Windsor Downtown Committee

Along the Connecticut River is a conceptual plan to develop a trail that connects the town of Windsor’s natural beauty to its history and life today. At the north end of the trail is the commercial and industrial hub created when Simon Pearce Glass invested to Windsor. Today there is also Harpoon Brewery, Paradise Sports, and Great Water Outfitters. 3 ½ miles to the south, the trail brings you another hub, downtown Windsor and provides access to the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, the grounds of the former Tewsbury organic gardens at the mouth of the Mill Brook. About equal distance to the north from Simon Pearce Glass are the towns of Hartland, North Hartland, and White River Junction. In between, path travelers, whether walking, biking or skiing, can traverse virtually unspoiled sections of the river and active farming. This path creates an opportunity to appreciate and witness the Windsor are by providing insights into reality, if ever, seen by residents or by visitors - all through a corridor connecting various community hubs. The symbolic relationship between the trail and the local efforts of the town of Windsor is very important. Bringing new activity and awareness to the area will help the community. The visibility and connection to other areas and other activities will create a completely new perspective of Windsor.

2008 Winner

The City of Winooski received the 2008 Corridors and Commons Award for their Champlain Mill River Walk. Beginning in the most densely populated square mile of Vermont, the Champlain Mill RiverWalk seamlessly connects Winooski’s flourishing urban landscape to a 100-acre natural area comprised of old farmland, flood plains and wildlife habitat.