City Hall Park redesign plans will not be presented to voters

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) A pitch to put City Hall Park redesign plans in front of Burlington voters failed.

People packed the room and emotions ran high at a packed City Council meeting Monday night. People for and against the City Hall Park redesign plans spoke for almost two hours.

The city hopes to transform Burlington City Hall Park, adding a splash pad, wider paths and rain gardens.

More than 50 residents spoke during the public forum. Extra chairs had to be brought in. People stood in the back of the room and some even sat in the balcony.

Some residents told the City Council that the city got it wrong. They hope to keep more green space and trees. Many also said they do not want a splash pad.

Many also spoke out in favor of the redesign, saying a lot of experts have been involved in the thorough planning process. Some mentioned safety in the park as a primary concern.

Others argued it doesn't matter what the City Council thinks of the plans. They said it's about allowing people to vote and letting democracy take its course.

Some residents countered, saying people had plenty of chances to speak out earlier at meetings and forums. Some argued that by electing city councilors, residents are represented and do not need a vote.

City Councilor Max Tracy tells us the vote was a tie of 6-6, meaning the measure failed.