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November 30, 2009

Burlington to Host Public Meeting on Moran Plant Plans

The public is invited to hear a status update from city officials on the Moran Center Project tomorrow night.

The 7 p.m. meeting will be held at the Burlington Electric Department on Pine Street, Mayor Bob Kiss announced today.

The meeting is roughly one month after the Green Mountain Children's Museum pulled out of the project as one of three private partners, and just one week after the city's Community and Economic Development Office issued requests to fill that tenancy.

The City of Burlington and project partners from the Ice Factor and Community Sailing Center will discuss current plans for the Moran Project and the process for selecting a new tenant, as well as provide an outline for how the public can weigh in at upcoming meetings.

Ice Factor representatives from Scotland will be in Burlington this week, and will take questions from the public during the meeting.

Last week the City issued a Request for Letters of Interest for a replacement tenant for the Green Mountain Children’s Museum.

The “Moran Project at Waterfront Park” is designed to redevelop the decommissioned Moran Power Plantsite into a multi-use, year-round attraction. The city estimates the project will create 675 construction jobs, 60-80 permanent jobs, and an annual "ripple effect" of $6 million in the local economy.
The city has ambitious plans for transforming Moran that include a sailing center, a restaurant, rooftop terraces and an observation deck.

The city has already landed two separate grants to fund environmental remediation of the site, including the removal of seven tons of pigeon guano. I shit you not.

Ice Factor intends to build a family adventure center which will include a large ice-climbing wall, along with zip lines, dry climbing walls and more. The city’s bike path will be realigned and more surface parking added. The existing skatepark will be moved and expanded, and a summer splash park — which will double as an outdoor skating rink in the winter — is also part of the plan.

If fundraising and development agreements proceed according to schedule, construction could begin as early as late summer 2010 and be completed in 2011. The project only needs local zoning approval and is not governed by Act 250, the state’s land use development law, said David White, a local private developer who has been hired by the city to oversee the project.

Ask Bob why he's holding this meeting with only 24 hours notice. Isn't public participation important, nevermind a hallmark of his administration. Why not a week's notice - or even a proper 24 hours notice. What are they afraid of? Public outrage? You can't avoid that nor protect your Ice Factors etc from that.

Whether you agree with the Moran Plant redevelopment or not, this is a very important project, and requires public input. Having the ability to call the meeting on short notice provides those for the project and unfair advantage (Kiss can rally his supporters behind the scenes) while putting limitations on folks against the meeting (short notice means low distribution of notice in time for meeting).

Shame on Kiss.

I meant a proper 48 hours notice...there is a law about public notices. And yes, one can comply in arcane ways and still claim they provide enough notice. If you truly want public participation you go way beyond the law. Clearly Kiss does not - and that is my point.

Shame on Kiss.

One would think the mayor would be very careful of making decisions like this that put the public at a disadvantage. Or again that is the Mayors only advantage. This administration operates under a bigger cloud of secrecy than Nixon. Hopefully this administration ends the same way before it destroys Burlington.

I'm sure pinheads are allowed to attend. Why don't you go and pose these questions in person?

To Pin: What is that supposed to mean? I'm trying to read between the lines. I know you are being sarcastic, but are you saying that the comments above are stupid (e.g. from "pinheads")? Very odd.

Regardless of who the new potential tenant is, the public should vote on this again. Without the children's museum, it's a different project than the one that was approved.

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