Moved to its new location on Main Street atop the grassy knoll that was formerly the site of M&M Beverage, the Guertin Gazebo immediately generated social media discussion about its orientation — and within the week a clean up and re-painting of the structure commenced.
The initial concern was the way the structure faced, with its back side to Main Street and looking away from the recently installed public art panels. The other perspective, that had guided the placement of the structure, is the comparatively attractive view across the grassy area to the Statehouse, the tree-lined North Branch riverbank, and several historic buildings.
Parks Director Alec Ellsworth favors the current viewpoint as more aesthetically pleasing. He also noted the potential for greater public use of the area with the possible installation of picnic tables for the warmer months. Ellsworth, the parks crew, and several volunteers — including some from the homeless community — participated in the mid-week cleaning and painting.
Some of the unhoused in Montpelier have continued to sleep in the shelter, said Rick DeAngelis, director of the Good Samaritan Haven. “Those who desperately need shelter have been using it in the new location. I would not be surprised if there are those who continue to use it,” DeAngelis said. He added that he has informed those sleeping in the shelter that an overnight facility will soon be opened at Christ Church.
As City Manager Bill Fraser posted in one of the several discussions on social media, the future of the shelter remains open to discussion. “We may turn it around, or relocate it again,” Fraser wrote. In a phone interview, Mayor Anne Watson concurred that what happens on the site has yet to be permanently decided.