Mayor’s Office

Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces Waterfront and Downtown Public Investment Action Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 7, 2013
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                  802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces Waterfront and Downtown Public Investment Action Plan
Plan Designed to Create Jobs, Make Burlington More Affordable, Grow Property Tax Base without Impacting Property Tax Rates

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced the creation of the Waterfront and Downtown Public Investment Action Plan (PIAP), designed to create new jobs, make Burlington more affordable, and grow the property tax base and other municipal revenues without impacting municipal property tax rates. 

Weinberger, joined by many community leaders (listed below), made the announcement from the City’s Francis J. O’Brien Water Treatment Building, with an expansive and beautiful lake view behind him, stating:  “The purpose of the Public Investment Action Plan is to achieve progress towards our collective and long-sought vision of an even more dynamic and vibrant waterfront and downtown.  Progress towards this vision has been too slow in recent years – we will change that by building public infrastructure that catalyzes additional investment, grows City revenues, increases public access and enjoyment of the waterfront, and creates housing opportunities for all.”

Over the next two years, through a highly-transparent, collaborative, and efficient process that provides significant opportunity for public input, the Administration will identify and begin to implement prudent, public investments in both the Waterfront and Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts.  The goal of these investments is to improve the public built environment, including streetscape, parks, and other public spaces, as well as to achieve mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented, green, “infill” redevelopment of our downtown and waterfront in a manner that creates a more livable City.  The PIAP will allocate at least $5 million of public investments in the Waterfront TIF District and approximately $10 million in the Downtown TIF District.  These estimates may increase depending on the level of taxable investment catalyzed by the PIAP.  (Please see details of the PIAP in both the attached documents: “Waterfront and Downtown Public Investment Action Plan Summary” and “Mayor’s Open Letter to the People of Burlington”.)

Peter Owens, Director of the Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO), added:  “The enhancement of our walkable, vibrant, and accessible downtown and waterfront is perhaps the most important economic development activity the public sector can pursue and has been central to CEDO’s mission for the past 30 years.  The PIAP process is an exciting opportunity to take tangible, concrete steps to fulfill this long-held promise for the City.”

Weinberger and Owens were joined at the announcement by the following community leaders:

  • Karen Paul, Ward 6 City Councilor and Chair of City Council’s Parks, Arts, and Culture Committee:  “Having served both on the Parks, Arts, and Culture Committee and worked on waterfront issues for a long time, and as a strong advocate and sponsor of the resolution that led to the creation of PlanBTV, I am excited about this action plan leading the way for forward movement on ideas that have been talked about for so long.  This plan offers logical and bold next steps that build on the Mayor’s Moran decision last summer.  Also, I am happy to see that the Mayor is including an open process that will welcome concepts and new ideas that advance existing plans; our waterfront can only benefit from this new plan for us and for generations to come.”
  • Bryan Aubin, Ward 4 City Councilor and Member of the City Council’s Parks, Arts, and Culture Committee:  “Burlington’s waterfront is the people’s waterfront, the people’s front yard.  I appreciate that the Mayor’s new plan offers anyone and everyone the opportunity to propose concepts that will result in waterfront development that is publicly accessible.  I strongly support the idea that this plan will operate as an open, public process, a quality of great importance to the New North End.” 
  • Kelly Devine, Executive Director of the Burlington Business Association:  “The Burlington waterfront holds so much potential for our community.  On behalf of the Burlington business community, I want to thank Mayor Weinberger, CEDO Director Peter Owens, and their team for focusing on how we can make the most of this vital resource.  We welcome this plan and its proactive and inclusive strategy.  The Burlington Business Association shares the Mayor's excitement about the investment this plan will stimulate on the waterfront and in the downtown, while creating jobs and growing Burlington’s economy.”
  • Phelan Fretz, Executive Director of the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center:  “The community’s vision for the ‘people’s waterfront’ decades ago gave life to one of New England’s greatest natural treasures.  ECHO and the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain are honored to be part of this vision and look forward to an exciting process to define the next investments.” 
  • Kurt Wright, State Representative and former City Council President:  “As a long-time user and supporter of the bike path and our waterfront, as well as a proponent of responsible growth in our downtown, I am excited that this new plan attempts to move the waterfront and downtown forward with a comprehensive approach.  I am also pleased that a public process has been identified that will result in a Town Meeting Day vote.  The waterfront is one of our crown jewels, and it is vitally important that Burlingtonians decide its future together.”
  • Mark Naud, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center:  “The Community Sailing Center is thrilled to participate in Burlington’s Waterfront Public Investment initiative.  We look forward to the opportunity to invest with the City to provide significantly enhanced on-the-lake access, education, and recreational opportunities to all members of the community.”
  • Brenda Torpy, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust
  • Chapin Spencer, Executive Director of Local Motion
  • Peter Delaney, Executive Director of RunVermont                                                                
  • Frank Cioffi, President of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation
  • Doreen Kraft, Executive Director of Burlington City Arts
  • David E. White, Director of Planning and Zoning

 

Please see attached documents:

  • Waterfront and Downtown Public Investment Action Plan Summary
  • Mayor’s Open Letter to the People of Burlington
  • Map of the Waterfront and Downtown TIF Districts

 

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Press Release Date: 
01/07/2013
City Department: 
Mayor's Office