Weinberger Scraps Moran Project, Sets Plan For Waterfront
07/04/12 7:30AM By Kirk Carapezza
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has outlined his plans for redeveloping the Lake Champlain waterfront, after deciding that the city won't invest in a long abandoned electrical plant.
Burlington has suffered significant downgrades from leading credit agencies in recent months. So Weinberger says he's not willing to risk making a public investment in the Moran plant - a building that has stood unused on the shores of the lake for the past 25 years.
Weinberger says the plan developed by former mayor Bob Kiss's administration to clean up the plant and redevelop it is a speculative, complicated real estate venture.
"We are not in a place where we can continue to do some of the things that were done in the past - putting local Burlington taxpayer dollars at risk for essentially entrepreneurial, uncertain projects," Weinberger says.
Critics are disappointment in the Mayor's decision to put the redevelopment of the old plant on hold. They say after years of public input and work by city staff, the plan to re-use the Moran plant was sound.
though he has killed the plan, Weinberger says Burlington residents should be optimistic about the future of their
"It has been too long since we have seen progress on the waterfront, and it's untenable that we continue to be stalled," Weinberger says. "Going back 30 years, we have made great progress in reclaiming the waterfront from its industrial past. In the last decade, however, we have not made that kind of progress and that needs to change."
Weinberger says the city will now focus on enhancing the city's bike path and protecting Lake Champlain with modern storm water facilities. "I do believe after an open, competitive, efficient process we will finally have an achievable, feasible decision for the Moran building itself."
And, Weinberger says, after a decade of delay his administration will focus on developing the northern section of Burlington's waterfront.
PDF: Read Weinberger's open letter to Burlington residents here.