St. Albans Main Street Revitalization

In 2009 the city of St. Albans started developing a master plan for the redesign and revitalization of Main Street which included Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI). This redesign included new sidewalks, street lamps, roadways, and tree planting alongside Main Street. The city broke ground in October 2012 after many years of developing a vision and creating a master plan. The master plan was a collaboration of public and private sector individuals with various experiences addressing the redesign.

Bringing trees into the city of St. Albans is a highlighted aspect along the main street. Currently, native trees line the main street sidewalk between the roadway and the main street buildings. These trees are supported using Silva Cells crates or structural soil beneath the concrete. Silva Cells are plastic crates that support the growth of large tree root systems, within soil, underneath a concrete sidewalk without being compacted. Structural soil is a technology that provides support with a special type of intermixed gravel. While providing the growth for trees, these solutions also provide a stormwater management system through the absorption and evapotranspiration of water that would otherwise contribute to Main Street’s stormwater runoff.

After two years of construction, the main street revitalization was finished with brand new roads, street lamps, additional trees, and a new source of community pride. The total cost for the project was estimated at $3 million, with about $2.1 million provided by federal grants. During the construction, the city sponsored different media ads to encourage community members to support their local businesses that stayed open during the construction.

Project Contact: 
Chip Sawyer
Project Contact Email: 
Town: 
St. Albans City
Year Project Started: 
2009
Year Completed: 
2014
Project Lifespan: 
2009-2014
Keywords: 
Land Management
Project Accomplishments: 

St. Albans was able to construct a “Complete Street” design with new sidewalks, crosswalks, streetlights, trees and street furniture along Main Street. This revitalization created a new brand and new momentum for the St. Albans community. A sense of community pride was rejuvenated after the main street was redesigned and constructed including the new green landscape.

Project Partners: 

City of St. Albans
Vermont Agency of Transportation
Forest, Parks, and Recreation
Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Property Owners and Business Owners in downtown St. Albans

Critical to Success: 
Finding federal funding and public support was critical for the success of this project. In order for this project to happen, St. Albans’ Main Street needed to be torn up in order to plant new trees and construct new sidewalks. Businesses and main street buildings all needed to be supportive of this big renovation for the change to happen. This project received unanimous support from city council. With all the partnerships that were involved within this project- city staff, board members, consultants, and other individuals, it was important for everyone to stay focused on the main goal to successfully complete the beautiful main street reconstruction.
Challenges: 
For the successful completion of this project, it took a lot of effort to create public outreach and bringing many different people on board, as their support was needed to follow through. Funding for this project was also an equally important challenge that needed to be overcome in order to proceed with the project.