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Burlington, VT
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One of the most successful and widely-known downtown revitalization projects in the country, Burlington's transformation of Church Street, the city's main commercial street, began in the late 1970s.

Planners realized that if Burlington was to remain the regional center of commerce, the city had to create something special. They believed that an economically diverse and strong city center translated into a strong sense of community and regional identity. Other values included a desire to put pedestrians (instead of vehicles) in the foreground and to create a clean, safe, beautiful, multi-dimensional space and showpiece in the heart of downtown.

Construction started in 1980 and lasted 16 months, and not a single businees was lost during that time. Two central blocks were initially closed to cars, sidewalks were widened, and the street was resurfaced with brick, adding canopies and shelters. A new downtown bus loop enabled buses to cross Church Street at two intersections.

Since the 1980s, the pedestrian mall has added two blocks, and is now about one-third of a mile long. The vibrant four-block stretch of Church Street defines Burlington's image as one of the most livable and desirable small cities in the country.

╗áRead more about the Church Street Marketplace

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