What is the idea behind Harmony Place?
Harmony Place will put the final touches on the Brooks House restoration project and serve as an economic, social, and commercial driver, providing an attractive plaza in the heart of downtown Brattleboro. It will introduce a natural, pedestrian-focused enclave designed to strengthen the connection between people and the places they share.
Brattleboro is a historic, compact and dynamic Vermont center, with lively arts, restaurants, shops, schools and commercial activity. Harmony Place creates a gathering place in the heart of downtown Brattleboro: a space that is multi-use, adaptable, community-driven, and dynamic.
A stage area, fixed and flexible seating, greenery, and artistic flair will bring downtown workers, students, townspeople, shoppers, and visitors to Harmony Place for events, a place to have lunch, a snack, or a respite on a sunny day.
Who owns the Plaza?
While most of the Harmony Parking Lot is owned by the Town of Brattleboro, the area of Harmony Place, including the tunnel, is privately owned by the Brooks House, and managed by a non-profit corporation, Parks and Plazas, Inc., dedicated to identifying and developing outdoor spaces in downtown Brattleboro.
Who will be responsible for the Plaza’s construction, maintenance and ongoing sustainability?
Parks and Plazas, Inc. will raise the money for construction of Harmony Place. Donations will be tax deductible.
The non-profit will bear all costs associated with Harmony Place’s design, development, and program maintenance.
Maintenance will be supported by adjacent building owners.
What entity will oversee programming in the park?
Parks and Plazas, Inc. will partner with Brattleboro’s designated downtown organization, Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, plus arts and culture organizations, retail and restaurant establishments, to develop a program of performances and commerce in Harmony Place. Ideas include music, dance, puppetry, circus arts, craft fairs, food truck rallies, antique markets, food markets. This is Brattleboro! The opportunities are endless.
What about safety and security?
Safety will be enhanced by the demolition of the blighted Frankie’s Pizza building, and the addition of intentional lighting, pedestrian through-traffic and inviting surroundings, designed to foster community and vitality. Commercial and residential activity at the Brooks House and the adjacent Bast Investment Co., LLC building – as well as the Brooks House’s current security standards, surveillance system and monitoring – will heighten safety.
What thought is given to ecology and the environment?
Permeable surfaces will replace pavement and cement, enhancing the design and providing responsible stewardship.
Planters and trees, plus a proposed water feature, will soften the urban setting.
Trash and recycling management are part of the plan.
In what ways were environmental and human impacts considered?
The task force and design team used the most advanced techniques in sustainability to reduce the amount of resources to build and maintain the park.
Harmony Place is tucked into a corner of the Harmony Lot, softening Main Street traffic noises. A proposed water feature will add serene sounds, and provide a cool oasis in summer.
Will the tunnel remain closed?
For the safety of the community, and to fulfill the pedestrian centered vision for the Plaza, the tunnel will remain closed. Further, research supports that pedestrian areas promote business and overall physical and social health of communities.
Design provisions will be made to allow emergency vehicles access to the building areas adjacent to Harmony Place.