Mayor’s Office

Updates on policing, CityPlace, + Covid-19

Sunday, September 13, 2020: Updates on policing, CityPlace, + Covid-19

Neighbors,

This continues to be a time that is requiring us to respond to multiple critical events simultaneously. This week, the City worked toward next steps for racial justice and policing in Burlington, filed suit against the developers of CityPlace Burlington, successfully maintained low levels of transmission of Covid-19, and restarted our public schools.

Racial justice and policing

Even as this moment is full of pain and protest, it also holds great potential for meaningful progress. This week, in addition to collaborating on Councilor Karen Paul’s forward-looking resolution on “Protesters and Public Safety” that passed unanimously at the Special Council Meeting last Tuesday, I have continued to work with the City’s leadership team to develop a plan to make good on that potential. I also met again with leaders of the protest on Friday. The core principles guiding me as we develop those next steps are that the City must: accelerate progress on racial justice and the eradication of systemic racism in all parts of the City, including the Police Department; treat all City employees fairly; and apply our laws fairly and impartially to keep safe the protestors, the general public, and our employees. We are working hard to get this response right, and we will have a further update share soon.

CityPlace Burlington

This week, the City filed suit against the developer of CityPlace Burlington. The City’s goal continues to be to transform this long-troubled part of downtown Burlington into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood. After two years of trying to work collaboratively to achieve that goal, our patience has run out, and we’ve reached a point where we have hold the developer accountable for failure to make good on the binding commitments it has made to the City. Our lawsuit is specifically requesting the court to order the developer to immediately rebuild St. Paul Street and Pine Street, activate Bank Street and Cherry Street, and construct additional improvements to the public streets as committed in our Development Agreement.

With this lawsuit, we are fighting for the reconnected and dramatically improved public streets and infrastructure that Burlington has been promised, and ultimately, for the widely shared vision of restored homes, jobs, and vitality in our downtown. You can read more about the lawsuit on the City website, and also see a video briefing that the City’s legal team and I gave about the suit last week.

Response to Covid-19

Our community achieved two major milestones this week: We continued to sustain very low levels of daily new cases of the coronavirus and other key metrics, even during the higher-risk period of the University of Vermont and Champlain College re-opening. At the same time, this week, the Burlington School District also started the school year and welcomed students back for hybrid learning. Restarting our schools is one of the highest-value things we can do, and this is one of the goals we all have been sacrificing and working toward for months.

The City is working on many fronts to help ensure that this early fall success continues. You can learn more about our response, and track the latest numbers, on the City website: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/covid-19. The most important element of this success, of course, is all of you. Burlingtonians’ collective sacrifice and vigilance is what has kept our community so safe since the start of the pandemic, and has allowed us to reopen the highest-value parts of our society and economy. As always, thank you – and let’s keep it up.

Warmly,

Miro

 

See all of Mayor Weinberger's updates.