Demonstrating the power of a dedicated tax fund, Mayor Weinberger celebrated the opening of a renewed playground and the 104 projects and more than $2 million investment in Burlington that have resulted from Burlington’s Pennies for Parks tax. Many of the projects completed are of particular interest to Burlington’s business community including The Burlington Boathouse, the Bike Path, City Hall Park, and Waterfront Access North. More than 85 of the projects have been completed under the leadership of the Weinberger administration.
The former Starr Farm playground was was built by the Parks crews in the early 1990s and was the only wood and metal playground in the Burlington parks system, resulting in multiple community members submitting project request forms through the City’s Penny for Parks (PFP) program. “This playground is a great example of BPRW’s focus on quality, compelling structures in the landscape, and shows our unwavering commitment to the importance of play for all ages and abilities. We take the concept of play very seriously,” said Burlington Parks and Recreation Department’s Director Jesse Bridges.
Burlington Parks & Recreation has completed 104 PFP projects within the City’s park system since the program’s kick-off in 2010, including the expansion of Dewey Park, the Miller Center floor resurfacing including pickleball striping, restroom renovations at the Oakledge Park upper pavilion, and several playing court improvements throughout the City. With a budget of approximately $350,000, a dozen more PFP projects are expected to be completed in fiscal year 2016.
“The success of this project is a great example of how effect dedicated tax funds can be for a community. In addition to raising millions, the fund has also leveraged close to $1 million,” Said BBA Executive Director Kelly Devine. Downtown Improvement Districts (DIDs) are another example of such a fund. BBA would love to see our $316,000 annual DID tax working in a similar way. We are working toward that goal.”
Penny for Parks was established in 2008 and is an annual funding plan for parks capital improvement projects. It was approved by voters and is supported by a dedicated tax. PFP has both a short- and long-range financial plan and a project implementation tool developed to address community needs for ongoing improvements of parks facilities. Through this process, Burlington Parks & Recreation is better able to realize park improvements over time and identify phased funding strategies.
You can find a list of Penny for Parks completed projects for fiscal years 2010-2015 here.