St. Johnsbury Receives Grant for Honking Tunnel

Honking TunnelThumnbailST. JOHNSBURY- The town of St. Johnsbury is attempting to revitalize the town by making the famous honking tunnel a little more exciting. The town has received a $3,000 AARP Vermont grant to make this dark tunnel into an exciting drive to connect the riverfront to the downtown business.

Tara Holt Director of the Chamber of Commerce says, "the grant is to do a pop-up art installation meant to support and build enthusiasm around the riverfront redevelopment project that is underway."


Holt says the riverfront redevelopment project will "be renovating a building that the town owns which will be a trailhead center." This trailhead center will be connected to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail which will run around and behind Bay Street.

Holt says the selected artist will do a live mural installation where the community can watch as it's being put together.

Laurel Ruggles, the financial coordinator of the pop-up art project, hopes the project speaks to the history of the towns art and culture.

"We're hoping it's something that speaks to the history of the town. Kind of a nod to the past of the town but also a vision for the future. Like what can happen when you connect the downtown to the waterfront area."

Ruggles says the mural will be a temporary canvas and will potentially move into the trailhead center once it's built. She says it's a way for the community to see changes without them happening drastically.

"Sometimes people have a lot of anxiety around change. So, if you do a pop-up, a temporary thing, let's just say 'hey this is what we're thinking, what do you think?' give us some advice at how we can do it better."

With the project with the trailhead center on one side of the tunnel and the downtown businesses on the other, the town is hopeful this is a way to make the "honking tunnel" a little more attractive.
Town Manger Chad Whitehead said, "The intent of it is to bring art to places like that, which probably need some. it's not the most attractive spot out there.

The concept for the mural idea is being finalized and there hasn't been a start date to when the project will begin.