BRATTLEBORO >> The newly formed Parks and Plazas, Inc. will host a community briefing and outdoor celebration to unveil a new vision for Harmony Place. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 31, from 5 to 6 p.m. at Harmony Place, outside the back entrance to the Brook House — a space currently occupied by the old Frankie's Pizza building. In case of rain, the event will take place in the Brooks House Atrium.
The "Reinventing Harmony Place community briefing and celebration is an opportunity to share Parks and Plazas' vision with the community. While most of the Harmony Parking Lot is owned by the town of Brattleboro, the area of Harmony Place, including the tunnel, is privately owned by the Brooks House, and managed by Parks and Plazas, Inc., whose mission is to identify and develop outdoor spaces in downtown Brattleboro.
Bob Stevens, Harmony Place Development Team, will unveil large blowups of architectural drawings and reveal the extraordinary transformation that will take place over the next year right in the heart of downtown. Noelle MacKay, commissioner, Department of Housing and Community Development will also speak.
"This is a really exciting project. Gathering/meeting/community spaces are so key to what makes a downtown unique and cohesive," said MacKay.
Imagine a social hub adjacent to the newly restored Brooks House featuring a pedestrian friendly gathering spot complete with a fountain, a performance stage, bistro tables, trees and flowers, artistic lighting and so much more.
"The vision for Harmony Place has always included becoming a social hub, a gateway to downtown businesses, and an event space," said Stevens. "An ongoing calendar of arts and agriculture markets, festivals, and performances is in the works, greeted with enthusiasm by our community of artists, crafters, farmers, and musicians."
The first step in reclaiming Harmony Place will be the demolition of the former Frankie's Pizza building. The Harmony Place Development Team and its partners will be taking the first whack at demolition complete with hard hats and sledgehammers. Major demolition will begin in earnest on Wednesday and continue for several days. Pedestrians are advised to use either the side entrance or the front entrance to the Brooks House while demolition is active. Once the demolition is complete and the surface graded, look for pop-up activities on the site over the coming months, before the transformation begins in earnest.
The celebration is free and open to the public. The event has been designed to give people the idea of what's to come with food, arts and entertainment. Everyone is invited to sample Ro's Petite Fete and Dosa Kitchen as well as Susan Tondreau's lemonade. WOW Yogurt will offer free samples in the store and NECCA circus talent will add to the festive atmosphere. The Stockwell Brothers will perform and guests should expect other surprises.
Harmony Place is the first creation of Parks and Plazas Inc., an organization that believes parks and plazas boost community engagement, enliven commerce, encourage open-air art and culture, and bring life and lift to downtowns. The Harmony Place Development team includes Bob Stevens, Stevens and Associates; Craig Miskovich of Downs Rachlin Martin; Michelle Simpson Siegel, executive director of Oak Meadow and executive director DBA; Andrea Livermore, development director, Brattleboro Area Hospice; and Monroe Whitaker, retired landscape architect. Gail Nunziata serves as project manager.
Following the official briefing, the Downtown Brattleboro Association is celebrating a members only event in the tunnel featuring Hazel's pizza and Whetstone beer and music until 7 p.m. Sign up in advance to become a member to receive a free drink ticket — just $25 a year — or sign up right on the spot. To RSVP please email firstname.lastname@example.org.