The city of Burlington releases a crowd-sourced plan Tuesday night aimed at a brighter future. The process is the culmination of about 10 months of dialogue, debate and review.
From grandiose designs for major infrastructure changes on the Waterfront, to the quirky concept of putting chicken coops on Church St. - Burlington's new draft master plan for the coming decades is packed with ideas. Notably absent, however, is a price tag.
With big ideas and small, the 100-plus page document is a compilation of the work of consultants, city planners, and thousands of residents. More than 500 took an active role in designing the plan and thousands more contributed online.
"It is a very unique document, it's beautiful there are a lot of graphics that really help tell the story of where we hope to see the city of Burlington go in the future," said Burlington Planning and Zoning Dir. David White.
The plan focuses on themes, namely: the economy, housing, transportation, healthy living, environmental and cultural stewardship, creativity, as well as sense of place. It calls for new development on the site of the Midtown Motel, gorgeous bike friendly options, and smart parking meters that can tell your smartphone where to find an open spot.
The city's new Mayor says the document and his development plans appear to be a match. "Between now and the end of September I'll be looking at it closely," said Mayor Miro Weinberger, "like I hope the public will be."
Consultants say it's up to the city and its residents to vet the value and cost of the proposals. Planning Commissioner Lee Buffinton says at least some of the changes could pay for themselves. "Good development done right is a boon to the economy," she said, "so as things begin to develop and you do them right, it's going to pay for itself, exponentially"
Pollsters asked residents to give one word to describe Burlington's downtown. They did the same for the waterfront, and asked how residents hope to answer those questions in the future. For all four questions, the overwhelming response was the same: "vibrant."
Planners say sometimes you need change to keep the status quo.
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