Saxtons River Park project recognized with award

SAXTONS RIVER — The Vermont Public Places Awards program, designed to shine a spotlight on public places and spaces, recently recognized the recently completed Saxtons River Park as one of 11 noteworthy projects around the state.

According to a news release, the biennial awards program “honors projects that promote positive public uses and benefits by creating, preserving, or enhancing exterior or interior public space, green corridors, and networks of spaces.”

Nominated projects “can be either completed or in the conceptual or master plan stage and may include components such as community or transportation planning, public recreation, historic preservation or urban and community forestry, among others,” program staff write.

Saxtons River Park, located in the middle of the village, was completed in 2019 on the site of a contaminated gas station with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The former location of a number of mills along the Saxtons River, the park was 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 which donated their services.

The town of Rockingham also donated granite blocks from a former bridge abutment.

The American Institute of Architects Vermont, Vermont Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Vermont Planners Association, and the Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program co-sponsored the awards. Recipients were selected by a jury of prominent Vermont planners, landscape architects, and community and urban forestry professionals.

Merit awards were presented to projects that are enriched by planning or design or that increase awareness of the benefits of creating public spaces and/or connecting downtowns, village centers, or city neighborhoods to natural areas devoted to conservation, recreation, and working lands.

Projects receiving honor awards met those same criteria but had a significant feature or stood out as being exceptional overall.

In honor of this special achievement, the park designers, planners, and those who made the Saxtons River Park a reality have been invited to an awards ceremony hosted via Zoom on Tuesday, June 8, from 7 to 8 p.m.

“We are very proud and so happy that our community and its hard work are being recognized,” said Moir Messervy. “So many people in the village worked for years to create this wonderful space.”

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