BURLINGTON – Advocates for the development of City Hall Park are eager to begin tree cutting in the spring of 2019, but opponents of the plan claim that cutting 48% of the park’s remaining trees will destroy the cooling benefits that a mature leaf canopy provides on hot days. As extreme temperatures become the new normal, this might have been difficult to refute. But Doreen Kraft, who helped originate the park’s redesign, has an answer for those who worry the new park will be too hot without the 21 trees scheduled to be removed in 2019.
Kraft, Director of Burlington City Arts (BCA) whose gallery abuts the park, has been a fierce defender of the plan that she and landscape architect H. Keith Wagner began envisioning back in 2011. Wagner, who is also the husband of Kraft’s Assistant Director, received the contract for the park’s redesign. “There will be NO problem with shade after the new design is installed,“ Kraft proclaimed at a recent photo retrospective of Wagner’s cement and gravel creations, most of which feature wide paved areas flecked with green accents of shrubs and ornamental grasses.
“You say that shrubs in the park will be ‘vibrant,’” piped up a senior citizen in the audience, “but I can’t sit under a shrub on a warm day to cool down.” “Nonsense,“ Kraft scoffed, “I have the solution: colorful sunshades! Very vibrant, very edgy . . . um, but not edgy in any kind of a threatening or scary way. You know, ‘safe’ edgy! They’ll be set up when BCA has an event and then tucked away when we’re done,” she explained. “No one will suffer under a glaring sun at a BCA event, and best of all, they come in all my favorite colors!”
“But what about when there isn’t an event going on?” persisted the questioner, but attention had already shifted as Burlington Mayor Weinberger entered the room, grinning broadly. “I don’t know if Doreen has mentioned that her sunshade idea is such a hit, we will be implementing it city-wide,” he announced.
The Mayor’s office confirmed that Neighborhood Planning Assemblies will be notified of which color sunshades they have been assigned no later than one week after all trees in their respective wards have been cut down.