Chester Village Master Plan wins merit award Vt. landscape architects recognize SE Group's work in Chester

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Mark Kane of SE Group during a public focus group in October 2016. Telegraph photo

The Vermont chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects announced that the SE Group of Burlington will be given a Merit Award in the category of Planning and Analysis for its work on the Chester Village Master Plan.

Asked to comment on the award on Wednesday, SE Group’s Mark Kane, who led the effort, said, “It’s the town’s plan. You guys are the ones who should be proud.”

Kane also noted that SE Group’s name is not on the cover of the plan, specifically to point to the town’s key role in moving it forward.

“The recognition from ASLA is particularly nice because they also recognize that the evolution of a community takes a good planning process,” said Kane. “Chester has a vision that was able to provide that framework and that’s an accomplishment.”

Focus group participants examine maps and make comments.

That echoed the comments of the award jury, which said “To have the community come together is a big deal.”

Entries in the award program were sent – without identification of the entrants – to a jury made up of members of the Oregon chapter of the organization. The Landscape Planning and Analysis category recognizes “the wide variety of professional activity that guides, or evaluates landscape architectural design.”

“Vermont is a small state but has an important role in the history of American landscape architecture,” said Megan Turner of the VTASLA. “The competition allows us to showcase the variety of ways in which Vermont landscape architects practice the profession, producing great work that shapes beautiful, healthful, sustainable, meaningful and functional places.”

Master Plan committee chair Scott Wunderle addresses the adoption of  the plan at a 2017 Select Board meeting.

The award will be presented at a reception in Burlington on Friday, April 6.

Kane told The Telegraph that he was impressed with the energy that the planning steering committee, town residents and officials brought to the process. In particular, he mentioned Executive Assistant Julie Hance, who had secured a grant while the work was still going on.

“I said Julie, your executing the plan before I’ve finished Chapter 8,” said Kane.

On Town Meeting Day, voters approved spending $25,000 on constructing a “pocket park” envisioned by the Master Plan at the end of School Street by the suspension bridge.

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