public forum

Feb 3, 2005 – YMCA/Moran Public Forum

6:30PM, Burlington College Community Room – Town Meeting: Keep the waterfront public Public dialog about the March ballot items proposing sale of the Moran Plant for $1

Meeting Called to order by Tim Ashe – Waterfront Committee

Opening statements:

-Maurice Mahoney, Let the People Decide
-Public Trust Doctrine: worked with Fmr. Governor Dean, Rick Sharp, and Sandy Barre on the plan for the Bikepath
-If the proposal goes through, it will not be a park any longer
-The issue became a lot more active in Sept. 2004
-If plan goes through Depot St. it might cause more development there

-Mayor Clavelle
-Thanks the Let the People Decide group for holding the Public Forum, and having a different view
-City has been trying to get different projects there at Moran
-The YMCA will provide indoor recreation facilities for the community by being there

-Sandy Barre, Let the People Decide
-The people of Vermont own the land, not the
-Trustees of the land mentioned are the Vermont Legislature
-Opposes the plan because it does not fit the Public Trust Doctrine and the lease is not a partnership
-The YMCA will never pay taxes on the Moran property because it is a non-profit organization

-Tim Rollings, YMCA President/CEO
-The current YMCA facility at College St will give an estimated over $100,000 per year in taxes (if it falls into private hands)

Public Forum:

-Steve Boyman (lives on Lake St.): There has been no collaboration with the citizens, parking at the Moran is managed by the City

-Teresa Lefevebre (Ward 7 Ferringtons MHP): When she was a child, she basically lived at North Beach, would like the Waterfront maintained for the future generations; the YMCA’s a private entity, and will cost the taxpayers, How is it worded on the ballot? What are the forms of payment made back to the city? (Swim lessons to 4th graders, etc)

-Tonya Boudwin (Bank St.): Concerned the taxes will increase as a result of the YMCA moving there
(Clavelle: taxes will not be used to pay for infrastructure, state will help with the money); Sandy Barre asked Councilor Bushor the same question, and the response: “it will come from taxes”

-Diane Garron (Attended all the YMCA Public Forums): City still owes money on the Moran Plant, currently paying $58,000 per year; not everyone in Burlington will join the YMCA; Poses question to Clavelle: If the property was yours, would you participate in this lease? [Clavelle: I would do it for the City] [Clavelle: If it was his, he would not go through with the deal] To which Diane responded, So why are you doing it to the City then? [Clavelle: No response]

-Paul Buvair: Would like to see the YMCA completely open to the public; the YMCA’s gross is currently over $6 Million, contribution to the city would be 5% of the gross income

-Louise Andrews: The parks of Burlington are precious to the residents and feels like something is being given away for nothing

-Robert Bosseire (Running for City Council, Ward 2): Is the YMCA a community program? [Rollings: everyone is welcome, ie the daycare prgm]; Why is the lease set at 99 years? YMCA has to reais $10 Million based on ECHO

-Ian (Burlington Resident, running against Clavelle for Mayor): Supports the wording from LtPD, would like to have the city have a word in what goes into Moran

-Brian O’Neil: (Colchester resident & former employee of Moran) Land at Moran is contaminated

Feb 10, 2005 – YMCA/Moran Public Forum

7PM, J.J. Flynn Elementary School Gymnasium – Town Meeting: Keep the waterfront public

Meeting Called to order at 7:10PM – Delay because of snowfall
**Students from Rockpoint school in attendance observing (about 20 of them)

Opening Statements:

-Kurt Wright, Chittenden Rep. District 3-1 and Let the People Decide
Is the YMCA the best deal for the city?

-Scott Johnstone, YMCA Project Manager and Ward 4 Resident
Infrastructure needs of the city? the existing structure at Moran is not being used

-Maurice Mahoney, (previous 2 term councilor, a Justice of the Peace, and a teacher in Burlington)
YMCA has been in the red for 5 of the past 7 years; Scott verified everything on the fact sheet is correct

-Ken, Representing City of Burlington
It will mostly be paid by private fundraising; not providing it for tourists, but public; the bike path will be improved with infrastructure; council has yet to approve the agreement; YMCA still has to prove that it can be there for for the city

Public Forum:

-Steve Cherelli (Ward 7): Burlingotn taxpayers would be paying for the out of town members; how are the services value determined and will the YMCA proceed even it is voted down?
[Scott: it appears from their public forums that most Burlington residents do not want the YMCA]

-Sandy Barre: No exact answer from the mayor about what is in the YMCA for the citizens of Burlington

-Dale King: What are the most important environmental steps?
[Scott/Ken: The Moran is a brownfield redevelopment area, and the studies will be done after vote]

-Steve: What about better uses for the Moran site? What are the exact number of members from Burlington? and what if the YMCA would instead move to the KMart location on Shelburne Rd?
[Maurice: 3-4% of Burlington residents are members]
[Scott: Facilities are also used by non members of Burlington as well; the KMart site is not up for sale, and the owner of the site doesn’t want to sell]
[Kurt: They should have contingencies if the vote is not in the YMCA’s favor]

-Jeff Comstock (Ward 7): There should be a city parks and recreation facility there instead of the YMCA; Parks and recreation shoul be more active in the forums, and have a stronger voice

-Louise Andrews (Ward 4): Whole will own the Sailing center building? and will there be any taxes from the YMCA being at Moran?; those who do not have a backyard like her, greatly cherish the parks and waterfront Burlington currently has, and is not happy that there had to be a fight to get the referendum on the ballot
[Ken: The YMCA and LCSC would own the building, and they are both non-profit, so no tax revenue would come from the building]

-Ken Wolvington: Moran is an eyesore, so we should vote yes to not let it stay there another 20 years, most of the members at the YMCA now are blue collar, it would not be taking over the lake

-John (Ward 4 an YMCA employee): citizens should take the risk with the YMCA

-Brian O’Neil: (Colchester res. & former employee of Moran) Land at Moran is contaminated and there was no cleanup from the transformer dumps that took place there; when the lake levels rise, Moran will be flooded; there are Burlington Electric generators right next door to Moran, and they are very loud;
[Nick (CEDO): phase 2 ESA studies will be done soon, and those are paid an EPA grant]

-Beth (Aerobics instructor): disabled husband currently uses another gym because current YMCA isn’t ADA compliant

-Clif Cooper (ward 4): 100 years ago, pictures show there were old barges at Moran waterfront, with no open spaces there; a 30 year lease would be more logical, and appropriate; more clubs in Burlington, leading to more privitization of areas; The city is already in debt, and will pay an additional $3 Million for the infrastructure; did the City ask for other proposals besides the YMCA?

-Monica Forte (Rockpoint school student): How is a non-profit paying for the lease?

-Jen Ornsby (Rockpoint sch. student): Would a no vote stop the YMCA from going to Moran?

Meeting adjourned at 9PM

Moran Redevelopment Public Forum

December 15th 2004
Contois Auditorium – 5PM-7PM

  • Listing of comments made by those wishing to speak to the YMCA board members and the council
    (Most of whom were in the audience) Ian Carlton presided over the forum.
  • Moran is too ugly, the project is moving too fast, there could be problems with traffic; what is the seasonal potential of the property; 99 year lease is too long; city should instead convert it or tear down the building and make a pavillion of the area, and have the sailing center moved to the King St. docking area.
  • Place the project on the ballot in march as there are no clear figures on how the YMCA will raise the money.
  • Councilors saying they discussed the circus issue more than they have the Moran project, so it should appear on the ballot in March; concerns about the structural integrity of the building; feels there is nothing wrong with the YMCA as an organization; also some councilors are not in favor of placing the project on the ballot, they feel that the councilors who feel that way may think that they are smarter than the citizens of Burlington, or that the citizens are ‘stupid’, or that they take their job as councilors as making the decisions for their constituents alone.
  • Mother of a 4yr old disabled child currently has extreme difficulties just getting to use the pool to be with his friends because of the current layout of the YMCA on college street and also uses the childcare facilities, the new location would be handicapped accessable and double the childcare facilities.
  • Moran building is not safe as it currently is, the project would enhance the use of the Moran building, as there is not enough Waterfront access
  • YMCA give Burlington a community sense, it will enhance Moran building, and this city council vote is only the first step of a long process of the project
  • Tim Watson of Colchester (current YMCA member) The current YMCA facilities are not up to par with other fitness centers in the area, but the employees and volunteers of the YMCA are superior; the people who have mentioned the traffic problem are just “narrow-minded, afraid, and selfish”
  • Steve Allen (Burlington Parks & Rec. and YMCA member) Burlington needs more recreational facilities and the issues should be determined later
  • Peter Dartman (Non-burlington resident, Y board member & potential donor) Burlington residents, city government, YMCA, and donors must be in agreement about the project; discounts will be offered to Burlington residents; moran building has been branded as a controversial project
  • If the Y is threatening to leave Burlington, why should we approve their proposal; The YMCA should have more of a community centered base, ie setting up smaller centers in different areas of the city
  • Larry (Family Y membership & doesn’t want a city vote) works out at the YMCA & then picks up his kids there afterward, would like the YMCA to stay in Burlington; the rebuilding of Lake street is already stressing enough, and is there a cost to the taxpayers?
  • Jim (Ward 4 community gardener) would like to see the YMCA adapt more greenspace for their project, ie community gardens as there isn’t enough space for the existing ones at the moment
  • The YMCA in Moran would make the waterfront more active all year round, and the city council vote is only the first step in a long process
  • Andy (from Charlotte, Pres. of Housing VT) Thinks the estimate of cost is too low
  • Fred Hill: Unsure what the council’s vote will do for the project; the YMCA isn’t for public benefit; a 99year lease is not right for only $100; also feels process is moving too fast
  • David Zuckerman: NPA’s were discussing the project earlier this summer; his understanding is that there will be no tax increases fromt he project
  • Martha: would like a delay on the council vote in order for more ideas about the property, such as senior housing
  • Jean O’Sullivan (Councilor ward 7) Shuttle services and others are being addrssed in committees; by having the Y at Moran it would make the waterfront safer in winter; there will be no public funds used; city is currently paying $58,000 per year to pay off the $525,000 debt
  • Donna (Y member) the congestion of traffic is still not being addressed by the shuttles, would cancel her membership if the YMCA moved to Moran, as she would not take a shuttle herself
  • Alan Sousie (ward 7 not a YMCA member) Hopes project isn’t moving too fast; the southern connector is still scheduled to go forward, leading to more traffic on battery street, making more traffic concerns aside from the Y; the YMCA should give the city the cost of the debt, as well as the cost to demolish the building; feels that the project will cost more than $10 million; will not be a Y member, and feels that the building should give others who are not members access to the building
  • Joan: everyone in Burlington will use the new YMCA, not just members of the YMCA

Forum adjourned 6:57PM by Ian Carlton
(Still several that wanted to speak, but did not have the chance to)