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A Competing Plan for the Moran Plant - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

A Competing Plan for the Moran Plant

Burlington, Vermont - January 29, 2008

What to do with the abandoned power plant? A question debated for nearly 22 years now. The tired building sits vacant on Burlington's waterfront. But the city's mayor would like to see it re-developed.

"It would be a great addition to Burlington's waterfront," says Mayor Bob Kiss, P-Burlington.

$21 million would transform the Moran Plant into a skating rink, ice-climbing wall, restaurant, children's museum, a park and an expanded sailing center-- a combination of non-profit and for-profit uses. $7 million would come from the city. The remaining $14 million from its tenants.

But Green Democratic Alliance says the pricetag is too steep. They want the building torn down. The group says so-called "smart demolition" -- where materials are salvaged and recycled -- would cost the city less than $2.5 million. The space could then be left open, kept green, and transformed into a multi-use public park with community gardens, the Moran Sculpture, and a sailing center.

"When people think about the waterfront they think small scale and not large scale mass redevelopment," explains Owen Mulligan of the Green Democratic Alliance. "There (are) a lot of people who want the building torn down and there (are) a lot of people who want a waterfront park and green space on the waterfront."

More than 1,340 other Burlington residents agree and signed a petition to get the new green space proposal on the Town Meeting Day ballot alongside the Mayor's proposal.

"I think this time around we'll get a better idea of what people want to do," says Mulligan.

Mayor Kiss stands by the redevelopment plan, saying it will pump millions of dollars into the local economy if it's built.

"We've got a building that's been part of our history for 50 years and a big asset. Re-developed it will provide jobs to 80 people permanently and 500 during construction and generate $2 million annually at the site and $6 million ripple effect across the economy," says Kiss.

So, a multi-use facility or a green space park? Two proposals Burlington residents will decide between on Town Meeting Day, which is March 4th.

Darren Perron - WCAX News

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