Burlington officials discuss future of Memorial Auditorium

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) City leaders are still working out what people will vote on when it comes to renovating the Memorial Auditorium.

File photo

After gathering community feedback, Burlington officials and the Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) are trying to piece together ideas for the renovations.

At a recent workshop, community members were presented with ideas for art, music and food incorporated into three renovation proposals.

"It's our responsibility as a community to treasure and steward the legacy we inherited from previous generations, which is Memorial Auditorium," said James Lockridge, a community member.

Lockridge has been vocal before about how he'd like to see more youth programs brought back to the auditorium. He says he supports the idea of combining art music and food as focal points.

"It doesn't matter how old you are or what your interest is. One way or another you should have some benefit as a resident of Burlington from that infrastructure," Lockridge said.

How best to combine the three ideas is still up in the air. CEDO's Neale Lunderville says they're trying to do what community members have said they want, make the auditorium be more flexible.

"We want to have a concert venue and we also want to have a convention space. And now our idea is to put all those ideas together to make one composite model that we will bring to voters in March," Lunderville said.

Voters will decide what to do with the space come March. In the meantime, city leaders are trying to figure out what exactly residents will vote on.

"We're very focused on trying to get a question in front of voters by Town Meeting Day. That means we will have to be in front of the city council in December and January, laying out a conceptual plan for how we move forward," said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

Just to bring the building back up to code will run between $5-to-$6 million.

The entire project is estimated to cost between $15 and $25 million.