May 18, 2005 – Ward 4 & 7 Neighborhood Planning Assembly Meeting
May 18th 2005, 7PM, Hunt Middle School
Ward 4 & 7 Neighborhood Planning Assembly
On the agenda:
Panel Discussion on the Gosse Ct Armory / Community Center
Ethan Allen Tower Celebration
Pedestrian Safety Resolution
Russ Ellis, acting president of Steering Committee calls Meeting to order at 7:00PM
Reports from Elected Officials:
Legislature has planned to extend their session until the first part of June; Several Healthcare bills are going around, and they hope to have it settled by the end of the session; There is a Public safety resolution by the council to the Legislature that entails better government role in public safety; the reappraisal
The Reappraisal process is a ‘revenue neutral’ event, so the city will not be getting more money; it decreases the tax rate, but since it is a complicated process, time must be spent to understand the process; the grand list is yet to be determined, because people are still disputing their reappraisal values; currently on the Transportation, Energy, and Utilities Committee, as well as the Parks, Arts, & Culture Committee
Jim Haloway (Wd 4): Residential values are going both up and down depending on each property, but residents as a whole will be taxed more
Alan Sousie (Wd 7): Council decides what the tax rate will be; they decide how high to raise the tax rate; cost containment and taxing amounts will be evaluated; the residential side of the burden will be more than commercial
Wayne Gross of Parks and Rec. as well as Chief Tremblay are still working on balancing the budget;
Hopes the Mayor isn’t expecting that the council will approve the budget, as there’s still questions that need to be answered
Gosse Ct Armory Panel Discussion:
(Wayne Gross from Dept. of Parks and Rec.; Leisa Pollender of Sara Holbrook Ctr, and Rep. Mark Larson)
Mark Larson: Armory has been there for 50 years, the building has become unused by the VT National Guard, and has now become a state owned building, with a process to follow if others express interest in the building, but no one has except for the City of Burlington, but there are some issues with the deed, but it should be finalized very soon
Wayne Gross (New North End resident as well): Council passes a resolution for the armory’s funding, the parks and rec. dept. has heard from citizens that there is a need for additional gym and aquatic space; Gosse’s a sound building, and could be a great place for public use; roof needs repair as it leaks when it rains, some remodeling of the floor and bathrooms are planned for the public’s use of the building; the utility costs for upkeep of the armory are already included in the FY06 city budget, however there currently isn’t any additional funds available for programming; public input for it’s use still needs to be done;
Leisa Pollender: For 65 years Sara Holbrook center has offered ESL classes, daycare, teen drop-in program, and summer camps for the community; the New North End Youth Center moved from the King St. center to the Sara Holbrook Center; Cathy, who’s been the director of the armory has been working selfishly for the project without pay; the Sara Holbrook center currently gets funding from grants (soft money), and they budget their money very tightly; the armory building is just under 21,000 sq. ft. and there is a large amount of space not being used to it’s fullest extent
Jim Haloway (wd 4): what about the commitment change from 2 years to 1 year?
Carmen: ( I ) was the one that changed it, in the 1st year groups should work together for a long term view
Alan Sousie (wd 7): any dates for the public forums? Is it possible to hold them at the Armory?
Not yet, but yes, the armory would be ideal, preferably on a non-rainy day
Linda Deliduka (wd 7): any thought of inviting other New North End Groups to the discussion? Kids & seniors really don’t pay the bills, so that section of Burlington also needs to be taken into account; possibly having a spread about the armory in the North Ave News?
New North End residents would not be the only ones using the facility, as it would be maintained by parks and rec. dept.
Jim Haloway: referring to the armory as a community center would affect the public support; how much outreach has been one for public & groups?
It’s just been proposed as last council committee meeting, so it’s still relatively new
Alan Sousie: What are the other possible revenue sources?
Possibly grants and private donors; Burlington city arts as an example: they held a fundraiser to restore the firehouse gallery
Linda Deliduka: What about making the armory into something like the canadian civic centers? What about using the surrounding schools and senior center as facilities?
A membership fee would be required for residents, like the YMCA; use McClure center as a model for the armory
Ethan Allen Tower celebration by David and Ann Arms:
Ann Arms: Clavelle & Douglas have both been invited to attend; Clavelle supports the project; there will be vendors in the park as well, with Hannaford’s providing cake & punch, as well as staff to hand out the refreshments; There will also be a dinner cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen $25 per person, the Sons of the American Revolution has reserved the whole lower deck; The next planning meeting for the tower committee is scheduled for June 14th 6PM at the Burlington Police Dept. Community Room (on Battery park side entrance)
David Arms: The tower is of Norman design, inspired by scotland’s castles; 15.1 acres were donated by Van Patten; Tower build in one year by Champlain Manufacturing Co. for $2,531.61 including the stones at the parking area of Ethan Allen Park; The City of Burlington bought the park with 60 acres for $10 Million; Currently it’s the 2nd largest park in the city, and they would like for it to get more attention; Mayor Clavelle has included a portion of the general fund ($5,000) for the tower’s steps project
Pedestrian Safety Summit by Wayne Senville & Jeff Hand
Possible summit this fall or winter with sponsorship by all NPAs of Burlington
Finding drivers not knowing about the laws or rules
Ward 2 &3 NPA has appointed a handicapped person as one of their representatives
NPAs are choosing to represent their wards, and the representatives will start meeting this summer
Jim Haloway: CP Smith’s program of walking to school should also be brought up, as it’s a pilot project, and it’s set to expand to other schools as well
Signals for crossing North Ave are timed too fast for seniors at Heineburg
Northgate area has no crosswalks at all
Include the college students in somehow
Getting Burlington to be at the same level as Montpelier, as they have fines for not obeying pedestrian’s state law
Mark Larson: suggests the steering committee nominate representatives to the summit
Ralph Montefusco (wd 4): Vermont Interfaith action: holding a meeting on June 5th at St. Joseph’s on Allen St
Jim Haloway: Ethan Allen celebration will be a huge event, encourages everyone to attend
Janice Santiago (wd 4): Northgate will be getting into the routine of having a resient at the NPAs each month; The residents have been very busy, some attended a National Low income housing conference in Washington DC, and in 3 weeks they will be going to DC again for a tenant’s conference
Beth Ruzansky: Lt. Davidson from the Burlington Police has reported numerous graffiti outbreak, please contact Chris Lynch if any new ones are spotted: [email protected]
1st response team for graffiti removal will be going around cleaning those tagged;
Intervale farms are starting a new program that will offer intervale produce: arethusacollectivefarm.com
Mark Larson: suggests the steering committee send a thank you letter to the guard once the transfer of the armory is complete
Meeting Adjourned at 9:00PM