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Big marina expansion planned at Burlington Waterfront - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Big marina expansion planned at Burlington Waterfront

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The latest injection of money into Burlington's Waterfront is just one more piece to the puzzle to finish developing the prime property around the lakefront. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has given the city $1.5 million to add on to Perkins Pier Marina.

If you were standing at Perkins Pier on the south end of the waterfront development, the expansion will go about halfway out to the breakwater. A wave attenuator will knock down the waves. There's also public space for walking and fishing, something we found Larry Piano doing along the pier.

"Fishing's pretty good depending on the conditions that I'm not going to tell you about," Piano said with a laugh.

He may not be giving away fishing secrets, but he's happy to hear about new spots to cast a line.

"I think it's a great idea! Coming from Fort Lauderdale, where I was born and raised, I'm all for things like this," he said. "I think it's great for tourism. I think it's good for everybody concerned."

The plan, which was created by Burlington's Parks and Recreation Department, includes 90 new boat slips, which would almost double Burlington's current capacity.

"We really turn away economic prosperity. We have hundreds of people who would like to come to the city by boat every summer during the weekend that can't find space here. We have hundreds of people who would like to have a permanent slip in the Burlington Harbor and they aren't able to get space. We have a year-long waiting list," said Mayor Miro Weinberger, D-Burlington.

What you won't be waiting much longer for is construction on the north end of the waterfront around the Moran building. It's quiet now, but will be starting this summer.

"It will extend Lake Street, it will bury overhead power lines, it will put in some new stormwater protection for the lake, it will build this new skatepark that there's a lot of excitement about. It really creates the spine that the Town Meeting Day improvements will be built off of," Weinberger said.

Those Town Meeting Day improvements include things like a harbor marina project that will add 120 new boat slips to the north end and a new sailing center. When we caught up with Mike Hendrickson fixing up the boats at the current sailing center, he said, he's ready!

"It'll be a fun summer," he said. "They'll be a lot of people doing construction work and grounds work and a lot of kids sailing."

While the work starts on the north end, back on the south end it will be awhile before you see the progress. The mayor says they've got a year of planning for this project and three years to finish investing the money from that grant.

The city of Burlington has to make a $1 million investment to go along with the grant. The mayor says that money may come from revenue from new docking space and some existing capital funds.

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