Restoring the historically vibrant downtown area has been a key objective for the City of Lebanon since 1964, when a raging fire devastated much of its main streets. As a result, the community has undergone a series of urban renewal efforts, including the Downtown Vision Plan and Tunnel Assessment. Seeking to further enhance the downtown area, the Plan and Assessment identifies a long-range, multi-faceted, community-led vision of how to make the area a desirable destination for the region and develops a series of concrete actions to help achieve this vision.
The result of the highly collaborative, 16-month-long process was an articulate and graphically rich guide to achieving the City of Lebanon’s goals for not just its downtown area—but also its future. The study offered step-by-step implementation strategies, including creating a “Main Street” feel by providing continuity from major routes and intersections in the area, improving pedestrian safety throughout the downtown, promoting walkability and bikeability, enhancing space for the creation of a more vibrant center, and opening the doors to strong public/private partnerships that together bring aspects of the plan to fruition. Additionally, central to the City’s goals is the incorporation of a former railroad tunnel located beneath the Hanover Street Pedestrian Mall. The proposed enhancements to the tunnel provide connectivity for the Mascoma River Greenway and allow areas for vehicular/pedestrian use above the tunnel and parts of the mall plaza.