Why some neighbors don’t like plans for a sculpture in a Burlington park

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 6:00 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A new public art sculpture is coming to a park in Burlington’s Old North End, but some in the neighborhood are concerned about it.

“It was very overwhelming. I was upset for the fact that it did not have local input,” said Jean Wolfe, who lives and works in the Old North End.

When Wolfe heard about the city’s plan to put a 20-by-20-foot piece of artwork in Dewey Park, she wasn’t exactly in favor of the idea.

“The community was not involved in it. We feel like there’s a bunch of decisions made without our voices. For the fact of it being very high and very wide. That it may push some vendors out of the farmers market,” she said.

The Dewey Park project was proposed in 2021.

The city’s Racial, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Department and Burlington City Arts wanted to create an art piece that would stand as a public monument to issues of racial justice in the city.

Burlington Racial Equity Director Kimberly Carson says the project is aimed at bringing the community together.

“Moving past what happened in 2020 and 2021 and the reckoning that this community had around social and racial justice. This park is a beautiful site where you can come and reflect. This is really going to be a focal point here as traffic is going by that is going to bring attention to this space,” Carson said.

But some residents have spoken out on social media saying Dewey Park is beautiful the way it is.

And although some feel there wasn’t enough opportunity for public comment, Carson says there have been several meetings.

“We took a look and met with people in May with the City Council. So that was open to the public. One in November that I actually attended myself, which was really, really good. It was wonderful to hear from the community. You know those that were embracing it and were excited, and those who had concerns,” Carson said.

There will be a public meeting at Integrated Arts Academy on Archibald Street on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. for anyone who wishes to publicly comment on the project. Carson says the more opinions the better. Click here for more information.