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Monday, May 21, 2018

Facing Another Dry Summer, Winooski Residents Press for a New City Pool

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 11:27 PM

The bone-dry pool - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • The bone-dry pool
Facing another summer without a city pool, Winooski residents crowded into a City Council meeting Monday night to push for a bond vote to finance a new one.

About 25 residents turned out. Many voiced frustration that there will be no pool for the third summer in a row. The aging Myers Memorial Pool closed in 2015.

Several people suggested that the bond for a new pool should have taken priority over the $23 million Main Street reconstruction project that voters approved earlier this month.

"I personally feel that this bond issue should have gone before," said resident Pat Everts.

"People are incredibly frustrated," added Sarah McGowan-Freije.

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Burlington Councilors Take a Ride Along the Champlain Parkway

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 11:27 PM

Mayor Miro Weinberger and Councilor Joan Shannon conferring over Parkway plans - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger and Councilor Joan Shannon conferring over Parkway plans
Burlington city councilors on Monday left the confines of City Hall for a field trip to the South End.

The group boarded two buses to scope out the route of the Champlain Parkway, the long-planned, 2.3-mile strip of highway that would connect Interstate 189 to downtown Burlington. The journey was part of a necessity hearing, where property owners whose land would be purchased to make way for the project could voice their objections.

The council's "yes" vote later Monday evening took the city one step closer to completing the four-decade-old project. Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2019.

But it wasn't all business for the councilors, Mayor Miro Weinberger, city and state workers, and a couple dozen members of the public who came along for the ride. From one of the two University of Vermont buses, councilors waved cheerily to a family at a barbecue outside a home on Batchelder Street and convened a brief council meeting on the pavement in front of the Department of Public Works.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Winooski Voters Approve Main Street Revitalization Project

Posted By on Tue, May 8, 2018 at 8:28 PM

A rendering of the proposed reconstruction of Winooski's Main Street - COURTESY VHB CONSULTING
  • Courtesy VHB consulting
  • A rendering of the proposed reconstruction of Winooski's Main Street
Onion City voters approved a $23 million bond for a major facelift of the city's Main Street on Tuesday by a healthy margin of 311 to 185.

The vote will allow the Winooski City Council to explore funding sources, including state and federal grants, as well as a 1 percent local options tax on rooms, meals and alcohol. An increase in municipal taxes and water rates could also fund the work.

After the votes were counted Tuesday evening, Mayor Seth Leonard took to Twitter.

Other public officials also expressed gratitude to voters.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Big Vote on Main Street Project Looms in Winooski

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 8:58 PM

A rendering of the proposed reconstruction of Winooski's Main Street - COURTESY VHB CONSULTING
  • Courtesy VHB consulting
  • A rendering of the proposed reconstruction of Winooski's Main Street
Winooski voters will decide next Tuesday whether to approve a $23 million facelift of northern Main Street.

The bond would advance a proposal to bury power lines, widen sidewalks, plant street trees, create a dedicated bike lane, and overhaul water and sewer infrastructure on a three-quarter mile stretch of Main. The section begins at a railroad bridge just north of the Winooski traffic circle and continues uphill to Tigan Street, just before Exit 16 of Interstate 89.

The idea is to make the heavily trafficked corridor more pedestrian-friendly and vibrant, with features that are similar to the ones on the lower stretch of Main.

Approval of the bond would be a "yellow light" for the Main Street reconstruction project, according to city manager Jessie Baker. It would allow the city council to apply for grants and explore funding in greater detail before making a final decision.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cambrian Falling: Trees Felled at Burlington Development Site

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 12:49 PM

Trees felled in front of Liberty House - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Trees felled in front of Liberty House
Tree lovers in Burlington lamented and vented this week as construction crews cleared acres of timber along North Avenue to make way for the Cambrian Rise development project.

The logging is necessary to move forward with the largest housing development in Queen City history, according to developer Eric Farrell. Crews cleared nearly half of the 21.65-acre plot, which extends down to Lake Champlain, he said. Much of the rest of the site was already without trees.

The cutting did not escape notice.

"Burlington development at Cambrian Rise property results in tree carnage. A very sad day," members of Keep the Park Green posted on Facebook, along with a series of videos and photos. The group has been advocating to preserve trees at a different Burlington project in City Hall Park.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Development Opponents Go Back to Court Over Burlington Mall

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 at 6:23 PM

Rendering of the project as seen from Cherry and St. Paul streets - COURTESY OF PKSB ARCHITECTS
  • Courtesy of PKSB Architects
  • Rendering of the project as seen from Cherry and St. Paul streets
The Burlington Town Center redevelopment case is back in court. Attorney John Franco filed a legal challenge in U.S. District Court Friday morning, arguing that developer Don Sinex and the City of Burlington didn't do enough to notify Franco and his clients of changes to the project.

Franco, who is representing project opponents, contends that the city violated the settlement agreement the two parties reached last July. By not allowing his clients to weigh in on the changes, Franco argues, Sinex denied them their constitutional rights to due process.

He and his clients are asking that Sinex pay for "emotional distress damages" and attorney fees. Franco declined to comment on the decision to reopen the case.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Burlington Mall Opponents, Developer in Dispute Over Changes

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 7:35 PM

Rendering of Burlington Town Center as seen from Cherry and St. Paul streets - COURTESY OF PKSB ARCHITECTS
  • Courtesy of PKSB Architects
  • Rendering of Burlington Town Center as seen from Cherry and St. Paul streets
The Burlington Town Center settlement agreement may not be so settled.

A lawyer for developer Don Sinex and a group opposing his project are in a back-and-forth dispute over several proposed amendments to the downtown mall redevelopment plan. Each side has accused the other of violating a settlement agreement they reached last July.

Last week, after Seven Days reported that Sinex had received the necessary permits for more apartment units and alterations to the parking plans, John Franco — a lawyer representing project opponents — wrote to assistant city attorney Kimberlee Sturtevant and Sinex's lawyer, Brian Dunkiel, challenging the changes.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Changes to Mall Redevelopment Plan Create Fresh Controversy

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 5:47 PM

Don Sinex - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Don Sinex
The City of Burlington has approved changes to the Burlington Town Center redevelopment project that will add 16 additional apartment units and eliminate 40,000 square feet of planned retail space. The changes for developer Don Sinex's project were approved administratively, with no public input.

Sinex described the alterations to CityPlace Burlington plans as an inevitable part of the development process. "We didn’t change any aspect of the design. We didn’t change the square footage," he said.

"We would expect a project of this size to make changes," said Mary O'Neil, a city planner.

The 16 new units will be constructed on the second, third and fourth stories of the planned building, under the original footprint. The 14-story development will now include 288 units, up from 272 in the original design.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Burlington YMCA Makes a Final Fundraising Push for New Building

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 5:09 PM

A rendering of the proposed new YMCA facility at 298 College Street - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • A rendering of the proposed new YMCA facility at 298 College Street
Leaders of the Greater Burlington YMCA called on the public Wednesday to help them raise the final $500,000 of a $15 million campaign for a new building.

Laura and David Stiller, son of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters founder Robert Stiller, are offering to help kickstart the renewed effort. They've pledged a dollar-to-dollar match for the first $100,000 in new gifts to the campaign, which YMCA officials hope to wrap up this summer.

The Y needs everyone's help to get to the final goal, the organization's president and CEO, Kyle Dodson, said at a press conference Wednesday in one of the preschool classrooms of the current building at 266 College Street.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Petra Cliffs to Expand in Burlington's South End

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 3:09 PM

Petra Cliffs - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • Petra Cliffs
Petra Cliffs Climbing Center and Mountaineering School has bought a parcel of land from City Market/Onion River Co-op and announced plans to move to a new, larger facility in Burlington's South End.

The rock-climbing center finalized a deal Monday to buy 1.7 acres from City Market, said co-owner Andrea Charest. Petra Cliffs will construct a new gym about double the size of its current 6,000-square-foot facility, said Charest. The new gym will have higher climbing walls as well as a childcare facility and space for fitness programs.

Charest would not disclose the purchase price.

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