Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Farewell to Winooski

Tomorrow will be my last day of working in Winooski. While I don't think I'll miss the capitalist time accountancy of working at a for-profit firm, I will kind of miss the long walk into work in the morning. I usually head in between 6 and 7 am, to go to the Winooski YMCA (which I'll also miss; more laid-back and working-class than the downtown Y), so I get to walk down the river valley as the sun rises, ending by crossing the bridge over the Winooski River into the city of Winooski.

* * *

There's been a lot of development in downtown Winooski in the past dozen years. To my understanding, it didn't really displace any neighborhoods (I don't remember there being much but a strip mall and some brush in the area east of downtown where the new building have been built), and lord knows we need more housing in the greater Burlington area.

However, I think the city of Winooski missed a great opportunity by letting the developers build the new buildings in super bland-o-riffic style. I mean, I'm sure it's meant to blend in with the (fairly handsome) old brick mill buildings along the river, but to honest I think with some good, adventurous modernist architecture they could have attracted easily twice as many Burlington hipsters, high-end-localvore restaurants, art galleries, etc. (instead, a lot of the commercial rental space on the sidewalk level is still empty).

Here's the old Champlain Mill building to the right, and the blocks of blah stretching back on the left:

The old mill buildings really do look quite nice, I especially like this entrance to the Woolen Mill:

But I just think they would do better to be paired with new architecture more like these - both in Winooski, neither of them spectacular, but kind of interesting and reasonably handsome: