Burlington is Vermont’s cultural capital and largest city, and the heart of a region where incredible access to parks and recreation defines its quality of life, culture and tourism. The city’s diverse system comprises 43 parks, miles of trails, ecologically sensitive waterfronts and “urban wilds,” community gardens, and several recreation and cultural facilities. Led and managed by Brie Hensold and Gina Ford while at Sasaki in partnership with Heller & Heller Consulting, the recently completed Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront (BPRW) Master Plan is the department’s first comprehensive parks and recreation plan for the department.
The BPRW Master Plan lays out a vision and action plan to enhance Burlington’s unique system by improving access to amenities, increasing department visibility, creating more regional connections, and fostering sustainability in parks maintenance and operations. The master plan focuses on seven system themes: People: recognizing culture, community and partnerships; Wellness: enhancing recreation opportunities and programming; Connection: linking parks to people, Stewardship: protecting and preserving our environment; Community: creating inclusive social spaces; Service: streamlining operations; and Impact: motivating the local and regional economy. The plan guides policy development, prioritizes demands and opportunities, and generates a strategic action plan for future development and redevelopment of the city’s parks, recreation programming, waterfront, open space, trails, and facilities. Through public meetings, an online interactive mapping tool and a statistically valid survey, a collaborative and engaging process ensured that the plan was driven by community input, needs and desires. Additional neighborhood-specific outreach was conducted through staff presentations to Neighborhood Planning Assemblies.
The master plan resulted in a new brand and graphic identity for the department, in recognition of its core values and offerings to the community. The brand has helped the department raise awareness and has been deployed in new marketing materials and new capital projects. Additionally, other implementation outcomes included waterfront park improvement proposals for public funding; wayfinding strategy and design; redesign of the waterfront bike path; and design of a series of small parks and “pause places” along the waterfront edge.Project Images