Plans progress for long-awaited city center in South Burlington - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Plans progress for long-awaited city center in South Burlington

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With empty storefronts and rocky terrain, the Market Street section of South Burlington may look like an afterthought, but it's been on the city's mind since the 1980s.

"It's been a priority for the city for many years to create a downtown for the community," said Paul Conner, the director of South Burlington Planning and Zoning.

But the city says state and federal permitting has bogged down plans in the past. Now it's a downtown one step closer to reality.

There are eight design concepts-- four for the west end and four for the east end of the street. The goal is to attract people to spend time on the street.

"People want a place to be to spend time, walk their dog, get coffee, have an event to take place and people are judging which one works best," Conner said.

From bike lanes and green spaces to parking and recreation spaces, community members can add input and vote on which designs will make the best mixed-use downtown.

In the section of the project closest to Hinesburg Road, they hope to make it less commercial so it fits in with the residential neighborhood.

"It's essentially the only piece of land the city owns, the 80 feet between Dorset Street and Hinesburg Road. So, it's a starting point to what could be the future downtown or what will be the future downtown," Conner said.

The city has $6 million in grants to use for the project. If the city doesn't use it in two years, it has to pay that money back. The city hopes to break ground before then.

South Burlington is looking for more public input March 7 at 7 p.m. The city will have whittled down the designs to two.

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