Livability Solutions

Creating a Vibrant Main Street in Hyde Park, VT

March 2013

   Host: 

Village of Hyde Park

Tool(s): 

Place Audit

Source: 

Challenge

Hyde Park is an idyllic small village in rural Vermont. Despite a historic Main Street that is home to an opera house, library, and the Governor's House -- now an inn and site of many community events -- the corridor has lost some of its vibrancy and attraction for local residents and tourists. The local state highway bypasses Hyde Park's Main Street, making it harder to attract visitors to the downtown.

The Village of Hyde Park, in collaboration with Livability Solutions' designated technical assistance provider (Project for Public Spaces), articulated the following objectives for technical assistance:

  1. Working with stakeholders and the public to identify strategies to make the Village of Hyde Park and its core Main Street area more of an attraction and destination.
  2. Improving the walkability and connectivity of the Village, particularly in the Main Street area.
  3. Identifying ideas to improve the Placemaking qualities of several specific sites in the Village.
  4. Training Village staff to use the Power of 10 and Place Audit tools
  5. Identifying opportunities to implement the vision and ideas generated by stakeholders and the public, particularly through transportation and land development changes

Process

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) worked with the Village to organize two public workshops focused on creating a more sustainable, vibrant, and livable Village and surrounding region. PPS helped participants identify the Village's current assets and its underperforming places. Main Street was the focus of the second workshop. Participants were challenged to identify low-cost/high-return improvements to the public space that would attract more people. For the workshop and walking audit PPS employed the following tools: the Power of 10, a Connectivity and Barriers exercise, the Walk Audit and the Place Audit.

Outcomes

The Village constructed a pocket park in front of one of the municipal buildings on Main Street. The park has become a public space destination and is a feature of visual interest for those traveling through the downtown.

The Regional Planning Commission, inspired by the workshop and resultant technical memo, rewrote the region's Land Development Code and has shifted to a quasi-form-based zoning code.

The Village received a $35,000 planning grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation to study how to connect the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to the public trails on the north side of Route 15.

The Village received an $8,000 grant from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development to plan for revitalization of Main Street.