Moran Plant proposal gets a collective thumbs up from Burlington voters

BURLINGTON -- A solid 65 percent was all Mayor Bob Kiss needed last Tuesday to pass his plan for redeveloping the Moran Plant. The proposal takes aim at reusing the abandoned building that has been out of commission since 1986. Ice Factor and the Green Mountain Childrens Museum (GMCM) are among the Plants likely tenants. 7,585 voters approved the plan, while 4,016 voted in opposition. Kiss was busy in recent weeks as he made numerous appearances to drum up support for the plan. In the process, he gained endorsements from 13 of 14 city council members, including president Kurt Wright. Just days before the plan went to vote, the Burlington Business Association, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Church Street Marketplace announced their endorsement of the plan. Kiss told reporters that the plan shows Burlingtons commitment to keeping historical sites intact. The Moran redevelopment plan retains and improves a vital City asset, said Kiss. It provides enjoyment and recreation to children and families, adults of all ages, and seniors, and at the same time it significantly enhances the local and state economy. City officials will now discuss the best way to utilize current building space, and will also consider what to do with the land surrounding the facility. Kiss offered that the land be used for a public ice-skating rink, a summer spray park, a new and expanded skateboard park, and a restaurant and cafe. Council members have also suggested enhancing the bike path. Wright compared the Moran Plant plan to the transformation of the Waterfront. This is an opportunity to make something good from the de-commissioned Moran Plant, he said. A year-round waterfront attraction, spectacular lake views from four stories up, and a mix of private and public uses. This can be a building the people of Burlington would be proud of. The plan will cost an estimated $21 million, with the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center and GMCM joining with Ice Factor to help deter some of the projects costs. Article two on the ballot was opposed by most voters, as it called for the Moran Plants demolition. Other items voted upon included two questions on the sale of bonds totaling $39 million for the Burlington Electric Department and emissions cleanup at the McNeil Generating Plant. The property tax deduction for disabled veterans was approved, raising it from $20,000 to $40,000.

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