Initial phase of Moran Plant makeover expected by August
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A major transformation along Burlington’s waterfront that has been decades in the making is nearly complete.
The Moran Plant, a coal-fired power plant shut down in the ‘80s, has now been stripped down to what is being called the “Moran Frame.” After years of studies and false starts over what to do with the derelict building, the city’s multi-million makeover of the plant is nearing the end of phase one.
“Having kind of gone from this eyesore that everyone complained about to what I think is quite attractive now,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.
It took 30-years and several mayors before the city nailed down a plan to transform the plant. We went through the plant back in 2009 for a tour of the dilapidated structure. Now, after a $6-million investment and two years of de-construction, the frame is all that remains for passersby on the reimagined waterfront.
The plant was built in the 1950s on filled land, which posed a problem for redevelopment and was part of the reason it took so long to come up with a plan.
“This is something that we will be able to flexibly add on and change over time. It preserves an important part of our history and it also keeps opportunities for the future open,” Weinberger said.
The city is aiming for the ribbon cutting on phase one to take place in August. Before then, they will be installing lights, and the iconic “City of Burington” sign will go back up.
Weinberger says a vision -- and the funding -- for phase 2 is a work in progress. “Seasonal shops, some kind of food is likely to evolve in a second phase,” he said.
Many people we spoke to said they are happy something has finally been done with the abandoned building. “My impression of it is that it’s better than what was there two years ago but my second impression is where is it going from here. So, it looks like unfinished business,” said Pete Sandon of Essex
“This was a great compromise and it certainly adds to the waterfront. It’s just one more good step on the waterfront and it’s just amazing how it’s progressed over the years,” said Gerry Prentki of Burlington.
We even ran into University of Vermont students who are studying the history behind the plant. “It is an old structure -- we don’t have a lot of the older ones. A lot of the buildings here -- like you see these square buildings here -- they were built in the ‘70s or the ‘90s and they don’t look as good. I think it’s cool to keep Burlington’s history on its waterfront,” said Gabriel Falcione of Burlington.
In addition to the Moran Frame, the city in recent years has made other waterfront improvements including the skate park and the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center.
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