At the May 16th Town Meeting an article was presented by Sculpture Park Committee member Barbara L’Heureux requesting $20,000 in funding for the Burlington Sculpture Park. L’Heureux spoke of the enthusiasm with which Burlington residents and businesses have embraced the park.
“Over the last two years it has proven itself to be a valuable asset to the town and so now we’re asking for the town to invest in it,” said L’Heureux.
The lease is soon up on the park’s sculptures with the exception of three which have been purchased or donated. The $20,000 would go to leasing new sculptures for the next two years and the purchase of one of the remaining sculptures and moving it to a permanent location. The bulk of the money would go to improving and repairing the entrance to the Sculpture Park.
“Anyone who has been there knows that it’s rough and uneven and not really for anyone who has mobility issues,” L’Heureux pointed out. “We want to smooth it out and make it ADA compliant.”
Funds would also go towards repairs to the stone wall, the sowing of drought-resistant plants at the site and possible future events at the park. Town Meeting members questioned the permanence of the Sculpture Park’s current at the Grand View Farm location .
“Everything in the park can be moved except for the stone benches,” said L’Heureux.
Nick Priest, Select Board liaison to the Sculpture Park Committee, spoke on the possibility of extending the park along the front of the town offices campus on Center Street. Peter Coppola of the Historical Commision questioned the zoning of the park.
“The Historical Commission supports the Sculpture Park in theory. The location is wrong. The reason it’s wrong is that when Town Meeting approved the PDD, it specifically said that the meadow can only be used for agricultural and horticultural purposes,” explained Coppola. “That is something that the Historical Commission has been trying to do. We want to create some historical gardens; a Native American garden, a Market garden and a Colonial garden. As much as we support the sculptures we don’t support them at that location. And that was the opinion of the Building Inspector based on zoning laws.”
Inspector of Buildings Mark Dupell spoke to the PDD zoning.
“The Grand View PDD is more prone to agriculture and horticulture than it is to a Sculpture Park. I didn’t make an official determination but there was an email exchange where I did make an opinion,” said Dupell.
There was discussion to postpone the article to determine the PDD; however, the article passed Town Meeting by a clear majority in favor of granting $20,000 to the Sculpture Park efforts.