In 2015, Burlington was presented with several projects that could change the face of our city. We’ve seen some inch forward while others have become stalled or even stopped due to local opposition. Could 2016 be a year of real change for Burlington? Below is our short list of those key opportunities, which, if moved forward, would launch a new era for the Queen City.
We want to see Burlington move forward on these initiatives in 2016. As a BBA Member, we hope you do too.
- Downtown Mall Redevelopment
- Burlington College Land Redevelopment
- Bike Path Revitalization
- Waterfront North Development including Moran, Sailing Center and Marina North
- Gateway Block Redevelopment
- Move to Form Based Code Zoning
- PlanBTV South End Completion
- Champlain Parkway Construction
- Downtown Parking and Transportation Plan Implementation
We are watching these opportunities closely and working to move them forward. Everyday, we work on your behalf to make sure the City of Burlington’s leadership knows what’s important to you and is taking measurable action to improve economic vitality.
When your member dues invoice arrives in the mail, you may ask: What does it mean to say the BBA is the “Voice of Business? What does that mean for my business and my bottom line?
It means we follow key Burlington issues closely. We make sure that Mayor Weinberger and our civic leaders know how their actions impact the business community. It also means we take calls from small businesses that may be frustrated by situations that impact them alone. We listen to their frustrations and do our best to help. When we identify actions that will impact Burlington’s economy and your ability to do business, we SPEAK OUT. We TAKE ACTION.
The BBA in Action
Burlington needed signs to help our visitors and citizens FIND THEIR WAY around downtown. Back in 2009, the City designed a great system of signs for both vehicles and pedestrians with the BBA’s help. Then that project got stalled. The BBA remained the leading voice for getting that project built and we didn’t give up. In 2015, the city got those signs installed and Mayor Weinberger thanked the BBA publicly.
These and other key efforts we completed in 2015 are outlined in this newsletter, but what isn’t mentioned are stories like these:
When a downtown business had their parking blocked off by meter bags for several weeks, they called the BBA. We not only got the bags removed, but convinced DPW to agree to reevaluate their meter bag policy.
A downtown restaurant suspected an adjacent business might be involved in illegal activity. The BBA was able to get a BPD detective assigned to the case. An investigation is now underway.
I meet with Mayor Weinberger monthly and speak with City Department Heads regularly. I let them know how their efforts both challenge and support businesses. I let the Mayor know that it is critical for Burlington to grow its tax base by adding space for people to live and work. Here is how we plan to work for you in 2016.
BBA 2016 Strategic Advocacy Plan
The Burlington Town Center Mall Redevelopment – The BBA will continue to speak in support of this critical project. The Burlington City Council and Planning Commission will be making key votes this year. We have a plan to educate the community about the importance of this project. We will work to move this project forward.
Safety and Security Downtown – there is a growing concern about street-level behavior downtown. Burlington is facing an opiate addiction crisis. Organized retail theft driven by the opiate crisis is challenging retailers. With the help of BBA committee members, we now have the attention of the Chittenden County State’s attorney’s office and the Burlington Police Department. They will work with us in 2016 to get tougher on crime.
Housing Affordability Crisis – Simply put, Burlington needs more housing. Burlington’s housing is too expensive and of generally poor quality. The addition of more housing will grow the grand list, add vitality to our downtown and make it easier to recruit and fill jobs. The BBA will continue to support projects such as the Burlington College redevelopment, that bring much needed housing to the city. We will also advocate for much needed permit process and zoning code reform to make it easier and quicker to get projects completed in Burlington.
Downtown Parking & Transportation – The BBA will work to implement significant improvements to our parking and transportation system making easier to get to Burlington. These changes are outlined in the recently passed Downtown Parking & Transportation plan.
The BBA will be your voice on these key issues. We will work hard to make sure the city moves forward, but we need your help. We ask you, our members to:
- Stay Informed by reading our newsletters, visiting our website, attending our events and signing up for alerts on issues that interest or impact your business.
- Speak Out by responding to our calls for action at key decision points. Sometimes city leaders need to hear more voices of support.
- Support our Work by maintaining your membership and encouraging other businesses that believe that Burlington is the best small city to join our team.
The BBA couldn’t do what we do without you. Help us get this work done and don’t forget to let us know how we can help.
Contact the BBA team anytime. We want to hear from you.
Member Services & Events Manager
Membership & Events Coordinator