The E-Bike Adventure Begins

Depot Street was no match for the E-Bike in ‘Turbo’ mode.

Local Motion in collaboration with VSECU, Terry Bicycles and Pomerleau Real Estate,  is offering FREE rentals of e-bikes this summer. It is a great way to try out this new way to get around. BBA Executive Director Kelly Devine will be exploring Burlington on one of these fantastic new bikes. Stay tuned as she posts about her 6-day e-bike adventure around BTV!

Day 1:

Many thanks to the Local Motion team. A++ customer service when picking up the e-bike rental. They provide locks and helmets for no charge. They even have bikes that can carry families. The bikes can fit on some types of bike racks (so plan ahead) or you can just ride away from the Local Motion pick-up site right onto the waterfront.

Wednesday is burger night, so we decided to ride there after work. We got there so quickly we had time for a longer ride and out to the Rt 127 bike path we went. We cut back over the bridge, rode through Ethan Allen Park, and then over to the Burlington Greenway for a quick stop at North Beach. We then headed back to Chubby Muffin for our burger and beer and ended a beautiful night with a ride back downtown.

The e-bike: it takes a bit to get used to how to use the 9 gears and the e-assist settings. We rode further and faster than we would have. The e-assist makes all hills easy; I used a range of settings for different hills and rarely hit the TURBO setting. TIP: Best to stay in the lowest gear workable.

Biking in #BTV: The new Greenway is phenomenal for everything including biking. The Rt. 127 bike path is in great shape. It takes some creativity to ride between them. Cheers for the N. Union Street protected lane, though it’s limited to one way. I wish I had planned the route back more thoughtfully. Where is the info on the best bike routes? Maybe ParkBurlington with support from Local Motion needs to create it.

 

Air Force Reaffirms Plan to Base F-35 at Airport

 

Earlier this week, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced in a press release that the Air Force had made clear their intention to base F-35’s at Burlington International Airport, and that any alternative “flying mission” is unlikely. In written response, U.S. Air Force Secretary, Dr. Heather Wilson stated, in regards to an alternative mission:

“We expect the first F-35 aircraft to arrive in Burlington in 2019. This decision was finalized in 2013 after a 48-month review which assessed 205 locations and concluded that the Burlington International Airport was the best Air National Guard option. If that decision were to be reversed, the Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s. The Air Force is much smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War. We have fewer bases and fewer aircraft. As a result, some states no longer have flying missions for their National Guard and the competition to secure new missions is fierce.”

The above referenced letter sent from Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson on May 23rd, specified that the F-35’s were due to be based at BTV in 2019. In addition the letter stated that there is no alternative flight mission for the Vermont Air National Guard, meaning that removal of the F-35’s would mean the eventual end of the Vermont Air National Guard flight mission. This position clears up much of the speculation that there was an alternative to the F-35 Flight Mission for VTANG. Such speculation led a group called Save our Skies to place a question on Burlington’s March ballot which resulted in action by the Burlington City Council to ask the U.S. Air Force to provide information, ask for clarification of certain issues, and evaluate the possibility of an alternative mission for VTANG.

Secretary Wilson’s response puts to rest any questions regarding the future of VTANG at Burlington International Airport. The original decision, made in 2013 after a four year review period, has consistently been supported by Mayor Weinberger, Governor Phil Scott and Vermont’s entire congressional delegation.

“I welcome Secretary Wilson’s response to Burlington, which provides clarity in two important respects. First, it signals the United States Air Force’s continued commitment to its 2013 decision to base F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. Second, it provides a strong confirmation of what many of us have long thought: reversing the F-35 basing decision at this late date would likely lead to the end of the VTANG flying mission, jeopardizing hundreds of jobs and threatening the strength of our region’s economy. This clear, decisive communication should bring some measure of resolution of this issue to the community.” said the Mayor in a statement.

Our organization has consistently supported the basing of F-35’s locally. The Vermont Air National Guard hold a distinguished record of service for our State and Country. In addition the Air Guard mission at Burlington International Airport is a tremendous benefit to our local economy, providing jobs and investment here in Chittenden County and supporting fire and safety services at the Airport which would otherwise be paid for by Burlington tax payers.

 

DAG Downtown Clean Up Hits Main Street

Volunteers from BBA’s DAG Committee were joined by downtown businesses for a street clean up event on Friday May 11th. The group met at on the corner of Church and Cherry at 8:30 am. The weather was crisp and cool but sunny for the early morning clean up. Working their up and down Main street, volunteers swept, picked up trash and cigarette butts, and cleared litter out of tree grates. Covering both sides of Main street from South Winooski to Saint Paul Street, volunteers covered a large area over the course of an hour.

BBA’s DAG committee launched these seasonal clean up events to coincide with their Adopt Your Sidewalk campaign, an initiative designed by the committee to empower downtown business owners to take ownership of their “strip of Burlington”, and clean and maintain their sidewalk and facades. Now in its’ third year, the seasonal clean up events are a great way to rally business owners and staff, and put the group’s energy towards helping make Burlingtons downtown clean, safe and welcoming for all.

As a thank you to volunteers who participated in the clean up, CarShare VT gave out a special promotion for their service.

Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Interested in learning more about BBA’s Committees? Check out the list of committees descriptions here.

 

 

 

Registration Open for Waterfront FAM Tour

The BBA’s Annual Waterfront FAM(iliarization) Tour is one of our most popular events. Kick off your summer with the BBA and learn what our Waterfront members have planned for this summer, all while enjoying a morning cruise aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III on Lake Champlain.

Event Date: Thursday June 7th, 2018

Event Time: 7:30 am – 9:30 am

Location: Aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III, 1 College Street, Burlington VT 05401

More information and registration

Thank You to Our Event Host and Catering Sponsor:

BBA and Perrywinkles Partner to Donate $4000 to Street Outreach Team

Burlington, VT — For forty years, the Burlington Business Association (BBA) has found ways to give back to the community it works in support of. For this year’s BBA Annual Dinner and Awards, held Thursday, April 5th, 2018, the BBA partnered with Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry, who generously donated a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch and winder package valued at $8,150 to be raffled off at the annual event. A portion of the proceeds from this raffle are being donated to the Howard Center Street Outreach team. The Street Outreach Team is made up of four individuals, including team leader, Tammy Boudah, Hannah Toof, Casey Lee, and Eric Goldmann.

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BBA Comments on Bank & Cherry Street Designs

In April, the City of Burlington unveiled its designs for upgrades to Bank and Cherry Streets. These plans present a tremendous opportunity to enhance the quality of these two busy downtown streets.

We understand and have heard from our members that even amongst our group there exists a range of sometimes competing interests as it relates to the redevelopment of Bank and Cherry Streets. Generally, our group is unified in our support of downtown revitalization and streetscape projects which meet the following goals:

  • Increase downtown vibrancy, especially on side streets and the waterfront
  • Improve the downtown experience for visitors, residents, employees, and community members
  • Connect downtown with the waterfront
  • Well position our downtown as a leading 21st Century City

It is our hope that the City’s final plan will find creative ways to meet the needs of both bicycles and pedestrians while maintaining on-street parking to the fullest extent possible. PlanBTV Downtown and Waterfront, as well as, Burlington’s Bike Walk Masterplan provide a directives that can ensure that upgrades meet these goals.

Our business community is united in calling out the need for improvement in the condition of sidewalks, the green strip and streets downtown including Cherry and Bank. We understand the importance of a walkable, livable downtown and appreciate the City of Burlington’s efforts to move us forward in that direction. The proposed plans generally support more vibrant sidestreets.

In addition the BBA has a number of recommendations for the design:

  • Inclusion of Parklets: we assert than any proposed parklets must be managed and maintained by either abutting businesses or a future downtown improvement district to be successful as public spaces
  • Parklets are not needed so close to Church Street as that street provides a large number of such amenities.
    • A parklet and reduced turning radius needs to eliminated at the loading zone entrance for CVS on Cherry Street.
  • Any seating features should adhere to the City’s current policy on public seating and benches. Seating and respite areas should have clear site lines for safety and security reasons.
  • Parking Kiosks: BBA has reached out to the Department of Public Works to discuss the use of kiosks for downtown on-street parking. We ask that the City accept additional comment from BBA and DPW jointly on this feature and allow time for us to meet and review this feature in context of the Downtown Parking & Transportation Management Plan adopted by City Council in December of 2015
  • Bicycle Parking: while we support additional bicycle parking, we ask that any decision on location take into consideration the recommendations on locations for additional bike parking in downtown submitted to DPW as a part of the Downtown Parking and Transportation Management Plan
  • Recycling/Trash Receptacles: these are a welcome addition to the location. As many as is manageable should be included in these areas
  • Street Lighting: new street lighting should have a consistent design with existing street lighting. It should also accommodate decorative lighting with working outlets and street banners
  • Bus Traffic Patterns: the plan should include eliminating any bus routes which include navigation over Church Street to improve pedestrian safety and quality of experience
  • Loading Zones and other speciality purpose parking spaces should be configured to allow for public parking in the evenings and overnight.

The BBA will continue to monitor this process and look continue to work the City and stakeholders to ensure that the final product best meets the needs of local businesses.

Cocktails & Connections May 3rd – LOCATION UPDATE

The BBA will be hosting their Cocktails & Connections Networking Event at The Cellar at EB Strong’s on May 3rd from 5-7pm. Entrance is at 2 Church Street, near Top of the Block Sandwich Shoppe & Old Time Photo. Bringing everyone from young college graduates to seasoned business professionals into one room, networking events like these are just one way the BBA brings the local business community together.

The event will take place in Halvorson’s back patio space. A cash bar will be available, and complimentary light hors d’oeuvres will be served. Tickets are $20, BBA members are eligible for a discounted ticket price of $8. While pre-registration online is encouraged, tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

Register Here

 

Join Us: DID Focus Groups May 1st & 2nd

For the past several years, the Burlington Business Association has been working in partnership with the City of Burlington to determine how Downtown Improvement District (DID) funds can best serve the needs of our downtown businesses and now we need your input.

To help the business community explore the best ways to use these DID funds, we’ve hired a consulting firm, Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA). Representatives from PUMA will visit Burlington on May 1st & 2nd and will be hosting focus groups to hear from key stakeholders in the downtown.

We also ask that you take a brief survey on your experience in downtown Burlington. This is open to both residents and visitors to help us get a better idea of what people enjoy about our downtown and what needs improvement. At the end of the survey you can enter to win gift certificate to Burlington restaurant.

Downtown Burlington Survey

The goal of these meetings is for our consultant to hear directly from Burlington business people to learn about what services a Burlington DID could offer that would be most beneficial to our local business community. These services could cover a wide range of areas including tourism promotion, waste management, events, and security. Downtown stakeholder input is crucial to planning the future of Burlington’s DID.

In an attempt to help as many people take part as possible, we have scheduled five separate meeting times. We have created a Google Form and ask that you check off all the potential times that you could attend. All meetings will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn on Main Street in downtown.

SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE

The Meeting Times Are:

  • Tuesday May 1, 1:30-3:00PM
  • Tuesday May 1, 5:00-6:30PM
  • Wednesday May 2, 8:00-9:30AM
  • Wednesday May 2, 10:00-11:30AM
  • Wednesday May 2, 5:00-6:30PM

We need your help! It’s important PUMA has the opportunity to hear from as many stakeholders as they can while they complete their research here in Burlington.

Spring Downtown Cleanup Event May 11th

The Burlington Business Association is inviting downtown businesses to sign up and participate in the May 11th Downtown Cleanup event!

Winter leaves its mark on our streets, sidewalks, and public spaces. That’s why the BBA’s Downtown Action Group is coming together to clean our streets as we say goodbye to winter.

Join us May 11th, 8:30 – 9:30 am for our Spring Clean Up event! 

BBA Members and community partners are invited to participate in a group clean up effort on Main Street. Meet at the corner of Church & Main (on the City Hall Park side) bring brooms. Trash bags and disposable gloves will be provided. We’ll work our way from Main and Church down to S. Winooski, then back up to St. Paul Street.

As an extra perk, participants will receive a special Car Share Vermont promo!

Sign up today, then join us the morning of Friday, May 11 for a downtown cleanup day!

Signup Here

BBA Hosts 40th Annual Dinner & Awards

Last week’s BBA Dinner & Awards was a  ‘Night of Enchantment” at the Hilton BurlingtonThis year’s event celebrated 40 years of the Burlington Business Association’s contributions to our city’s economic vitality. More importantly the dinner was an opportunity to recognize a very deserving group of local businesses and people.

RELATED: See the full album on Facebook

Honored with the Tim Halvorson, the Business person the year award winner was Tom Leavitt of Northfield Savings Bank.  A native of Burlington, Tom’s career includes not only being a successful businessperson, but a contributor to the Burlington community. Tom was introduced by the award’s namesake, Tim Halvorson, who once again had the crowd roaring with laughter during his remarks.

Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman was honored as Business of the Year for its decades of history, service and community engagement. The award was accepted by Brian Boardman and BBA Board Member Leslee MacKenzie.  

For architectural excellence, we recognized City Market for its ambitious construction of their new Flynn Avenue location in the South End. The project is the largest expansion yet for the Burlington born co-op. The cutting edge design from Freeman, French & Freeman Architects provides functionality while meeting City Market’s principles of environmental sustainability.

Lastly, this year’s dinner included a special recognition for the late Antonio Pomerleau, a legendary businessman and philanthropist whose career spanned over 70 years in local real estate.  His charitable contributions can be found throughout the city, including the Pomerleau Family YMCA and the Burlington Police Department’s station at one North Ave.

On hand to introduce this years group of honorees was Mayor Weinberger and Governor Scott, both of whom addressed the packed house inside the Hilton’s Adirondack Ballroom.

This year’s “Night of Enchantment”, combined a cirque du soleil theme with a masquerade to give our guests an unforgettable night. The event included surprise performances from professional hoop and silk performers who entertained the crowd with a unique show to match the ambitious decorations. The event is planned and executed annually by BBA’s phenomenal Dinner Committee, made up of volunteer members who dedicate significant time and energy to the event. 

As part of 2018 Dinner and Awards the BBA held a raffle, with support from Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry and WCAX, to support the Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team. The grand prize was a Rolex watch package valued at over $8000.

The BBA would like to thank everyone who made this year’s event possible, including our presenting sponsor, People’s United Bank, our dinner sponsors, the Hilton Burlington, our volunteers and our guests for helping to make the dinner such a wonderful event.