It's something many Burlington area residents have probably heard before -- a promise to fix the aging Moran power plant that's been dormant for 25 years -- something the public has never been able to collectively agree upon.
"The opportunity for saving the building may have been lost -- this is perhaps its last chance," said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. That's because funding to fix up the power plant is only available for a short period of time. Weinberger wants to use Tax Increment Financing, public funding that cities can use to subsidize community improvement projects. But a decision must be made by 2014 or Burlington loses the money.
"At least $5 million of TIF funding to invest in the waterfront district in the coming years. We have at least $10 million to invest in the downtown in the coming years," Weinberger said.
"I'm pleased to see the process that's emerged from this. I think it's better than what I was envisioning initially," said former mayoral candidate Rep. Kurt Wright (R-Burlington).
Wright said he is concerned about the short time-frame. People can start submitting proposals February 4th. Ideas will only be accepted through the end of March. "The downside is, its so tight. Do people have time to put together real proposals if they don't already have one in the works?" he said.
The Mayor said he'll appoint a public investment team made up of individuals with finance and development backgrounds. Those individuals will created packaged proposals that will appear on the March 2014 ballot. These ballot items could contain dozens of ideas in one proposal, including plans for what to do with the Moran plant, how to redevelop the waterfront -- among other ideas is a plan to turn parking spaces into miniature parks along the lake.
"The tricky part of that for a voter is what if they like 3-4 things a lot but hate one or two things," Wright said.
The public investment team will be instructed to choose ideas that advance existing plans, increase city revenue and expand waterfront access for public use. "If we act collaboratively and purposefully the city will execute this action plan without impacting municipal property tax rates while creating a more livable city," Weinberger said.
Weinberger said he's reluctant to put any of his own priorities out there right now and that it's public land and the people need to speak up and decide what to do with it.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:45 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:45:20 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:10:53 GMT
A fatal accident in Lyndon Saturday. It happened around 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Route 122. Police say 76-year-old Gerda Blaszczyk of St. Johnsbury swerved to avoid an animal. Her car travelled up anMore >>
Police say the driver swerved to avoid an animal.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
It's graduation day for the class of 20-13 at Castleton State College. And just for the occasion, the college invited back an alumnus with a strong connection to the school.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
Making sure our furry friends have a place to call home.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>