City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

Miro Weinberger, Mayor
Room 34, City Hall / Burlington, VT 05401 Phone: 802-865-7272 mayor@burlingtonvt.gov

 

Mayor's Office

Mayor Miro WeinbergerJune 2017
 

Happy summer!

I hope you are enjoying the many opportunities that Burlington provides to enjoy our arts and culture, vibrant downtown and beautiful waterfront. As the weather improves and our city comes alive, we have a number of exciting new projects and initiatives to celebrate.

Phase 1 of the Waterfront Bike Path rehabilitation complete
On May 31 I joined representatives from the Burlington Parks Foundation, UVM Medical Center, and our Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department to celebrate the conclusion of Phase 1 of our work to rehabilitate the entire eight miles of the Bike Path. Phase 1 stretches from Perkins Pier to North Beach, and north of the Skate Park it includes three new pause place parks, accessible connectivity to the recently acquired Texaco Beach, the planting of over 120 trees, over 160 shrubs, and thousands of perennials, and the first three installations of UVM Medical Center-donated fitness equipment.

This phase of the project was made possible in part by the Parks Foundation’s successful fundraising campaign, which raised $1 million from over 250 residents and businesses between 2014 and 2016. $350,000 supported the three new pause places, while the remaining $650,000 will be used to create additional pause places and connections along the Waterfront Bike Path.

The Bike Path rehabilitation also benefited from UVM Medical Center’s contribution of $250,000 toward new fitness equipment, which was installed in late May. The new equipment represents the beginning of what will be an eight mile UVM Medical Center Fitness Trail, and will provide Burlingtonians and visitors with a free and accessible opportunity to improve their health.

Construction on Phase 2, which will rehabilitate the Bike Path from North Beach to the Winooski River, began in the second week of June. You can visit https://enjoyburlington.com/burlington-greenway-phase-2/ for updates on the construction schedule and detour information.

City launches initiative to ensure all Burlington children have opportunity to succeed
Another exciting project I had the pleasure of announcing on May 18 is the City’s new Early Learning Initiative, which will expand high-quality child care opportunities for low-income children from birth to age three, a critical time in a child’s development and a determining factor in a child’s future. I was joined at that announcement by Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe, City Councilor Dave Hartnett, Vermont Business Roundtable President Lisa Ventriss, Dr. Steve Leffler, Chief Medical Officer at UVM Medical Center and Chief Population Health and Quality Officer at UVM Health Network, Permanent Fund CEO Aly Richards, and YMCA President and CEO Kyle Dodson, who all see the critical need for this investment in our youngest Burlingtonians.

The program will seek to address the fact that low-income Burlington children are disproportionately likely to be unready for school, experience a widening achievement gap as they age in the public school system, and are more likely to experience a range of negative outcomes later in life. Providing greater access to high-quality childcare options from birth to age 3 will offer these children a chance to succeed, regardless of their families’ income.

My proposed FY18 budget will use $500,000 in PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) funds to offer annual capacity grants that will allow our childcare programs to increase the total number of high-quality child care slots available within Burlington. The City’s research in prior years documented less than 200 slots available for children ages 0-3, with about 350 Burlington babies born every year.

Providing this stable funding source will reduce future public spending: a recent study released by the Vermont Business Roundtable found that every dollar invested to expand Vermont’s high-quality early care and learning programs will yield a return of $3.08 (view the full report at http://vtroundtable.org/vbr-foundation-releases-report-vermonts-early-care-learning-dividend-2-6-17/).

The program will be rigorously evaluated, with the goal of creating a model for investments in early learning that result in measurable economic, health-related, social, and educational benefits that convince other funders to participate in affecting long-lasting changes.

DPRW Director and CAO announce their departures
As City Council approved reappointments of our many talented Department Heads in early June, I was reminded of what a talented team we have assembled to lead the City of Burlington. In May, one of these talented team members, Department of Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Director Jesse Bridges, announced he had been hired as the new CEO of United Way of Northwestern Vermont. While we will greatly miss his energy and passion, it is exciting to see one of our Department Heads hired to lead a critical community partner organization. I look forward to an even stronger relationship with the United Way as we tackle the opioid challenge, homelessness, early learning and other major social challenges.

In May, our CAO Bob Rusten announced he would be leaving the CAO position on September 1, 2017 after serving in City Hall since 2013.  Rusten played a critical role in numerous key initiatives over the last four years, including the restoration of the City’s credit rating, voter passage of a five year infrastructure plan, and substantial reform of the City’s retirement system. I am deeply grateful for the tremendous service that Bob has provided to Burlington. Generations of Burlingtonians will benefit from the work he led to restore the City’s finances, strengthen its management, and responsibly steward its infrastructure.

I look forward to a continuing conversation about these and other important developments in our city. As always, I encourage you to join me at the Bagel Café on Wednesday mornings from 8-9am to share any thoughts or questions you may have. You are also invited to visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MiroBTV/, or follow me on Twitter at @MiroBTV for up-to-date information on the work of the Mayor’s Office and our City Departments. I look forward to seeing you soon.