Mayor Miro Weinberger announces flood repairs progress; Friends of the Island Line Trail give $50,000 for Burlington’s repairs

NEWS RELEASE

Nov. 1, 2012

Contact:
Mike Kanarick
802.735.7962

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced at a press conference that two of five major damage areas from the spring 2011 floods now are substantially complete, and the remaining three bike path repair projects are underway and on schedule to be substantially complete by the end of 2012. Additionally, Weinberger, on behalf of the City of Burlington, accepted a generous $50,000 gift from the Friends of the Island Line Trail (www.IslandLineTrail.org) that includes funding from hundreds of local residents and businesses, as well as from Local Motion’s “The Big Fix” campaign (www.localmotion.org/thebigfix) and RunVermont. These funds will be used for the local match to the federal funding for bike path repairs and/or project management support to get this work done.

“I pledged to be a Mayor who gets stuck and stalling projects moving again,” said Weinberger. “Repair of our flood-damaged, treasured bike path was in great need of attention when I took office. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we have the bike path repairs moving forward and on schedule to be substantially completed by the end of the year.

“On behalf of the City, I offer sincere thanks to the Friends of the Island Line Trail for helping to fund the local match for these repairs. This gift is wonderful in and of itself and fills me with great confidence that the ambitious $1 million fundraising goal to help rebuild and modernize the bike path will be achieved.”

Weinberger also reminded Burlingtonians of two important questions on this Tuesday’s City election ballot, the passage of which would help the City make further progress on the bike path. A vote yes on ballot question #2 will allow for a nearly $3 million investment in rebuilding the bike path between Perkins Pier and North Beach without a property tax increase. And a vote yes on question #3 will ensure that the City never again allows the bike path to fall into disrepair.

“Today’s event demonstrates that the City, the State, and bike path advocates have come together to rebuild the bike path from the 2011 floods,” added Weinberger. “The voters next week have the opportunity to build on this momentum and take a major step towards a rebuilt, modern bike path by voting yes on ballot questions #2 and #3.”

Under Weinberger’s leadership, both the Burlington Department of Public Works and the Department of Parks and Recreation have been working on a number of bike path and other spring 2011 flood repair projects, including the North Beach Boardwalk repair project. In recent months, the Bike Path South repairs and the North Beach Boardwalk repairs were substantially completed. Between now and the end of the year, the three other major bike path projects will be substantially completed, with the final paving to take place during the warmer spring weather.

Those three projects include: Lakeview Cemetery Slope Failure Recovery Project; North Shore Slope Failure Recovery Project; 127 Bike Path Slope Failure Recovery Project.* The total projected repair costs for all the spring 2011 flood-related damages is estimated to be $1.7 million. The first two projects are Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) projects, and the cost will be shared as follows: 75% by FEMA; 15% by the State of Vermont; and 10% by the City of
Burlington. The third project is a Federal Highway Administration project, and the cost will be shared as follows: 75% by FHWA, and 25% by the City of Burlington.

The State of Vermont noted its appreciation for the bike path progress. “The Burlington Bike Path is a critical transportation and recreational resource for the City, region and State, adding revenue to the economy from a variety of sectors,” stated Chris Cole, Director of Policy, Planning and Intermodal Development, Vermont Agency of Transportation. “We’re fortunate to have a local partner in Burlington that recognizes the importance of bicycle and pedestrian
infrastructure to the economy and is focused on rebuilding rapidly from the disasters of 2011.”

The Friends of the Island Line Trail is a collaborative group of trail managers (Burlington, Colchester, VT Fish & Wildlife and Local Motion) and key stakeholders (Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, Northwest Regional Planning Commission, RunVermont) that formed in the wake of the spring 2011 floods. Residents and businesses wanted to help, and the Friends was set up to provide that opportunity. Both Local Motion and RunVermont have recognized the Mayor’s leadership and ability to get big things done.

“Local Motion applauds Mayor Weinberger for making the path’s repair an early priority of his Administration,” said Chapin Spencer, executive director of Local Motion. “These structural repairs will provide a firm foundation for the future upgrades to Vermont’s most-used path. More than 500 residents and businesses contributed to the path’s repair and the upcoming bike ferry expansion. Today’s
contribution demonstrates the remarkable commitment of our community to help restore our spectacular waterfront trail.”

Ten thousand dollars of the $50,000 was a contribution from RunVermont, producer of the annual KeyBank Vermont City Marathon.

“The entire team at RunVermont has been very excited to see Mayor Weinberger in action,” said Peter Delaney, executive director of RunVermont. “He was prompt in fulfilling his commitment to have the bike path marathon-ready, and we’re very happy to see the additional repairs that will put us in great shape for the race’s 25th anniversary are well underway. We also recognize that we have a part
to play; whether it’s a modest financial contribution or some additional sweat equity, we’re more than eager to help the Mayor in his efforts to make Burlington a better place to live and work, to play and run.”

The business community recognizes the tremendous boost to our local economy that a repaired and rebuilt bike path brings. Kelly Devine, executive director of the Burlington Business Association, shared: “We know from the work of the Bike Path Task Force that the Bike Path generates millions of dollars for our local economy each year. This generous gift is not only an important investment in this valued
asset, but also in our local economy and our future. The Burlington Business Association looks forward to working with the Friends of the Bike Path to realize the vision of a world class Bike Path for our City and region.”

In addition to Cole, Spencer, Delaney, and Devine, Weinberger was joined at the press conference, which took place on the beach just below the Lakeview Cemetery section of the bike path, where a nearly 150-foot section of slope leading from the bike path to Lake Champlain had collapsed, by the following other City leaders:

· Cathy Frank, Board Chair, Local Motion; and Co-Chair, Local
Motion’s The Big Fix Campaign

· John Bossange, Co-Chair, Friends of the Bike Path Task Force

· Steve Goodkind, Director, Burlington Department of Public Works

· Norm Baldwin, Assistant Director, Burlington Department of
Public Works

· Jesse Bridges, Director, Burlington Department of Parks and Recreation

· Deryk Roach, Superintendent of Park Operations &
Maintenance, Burlington Department of Parks and Recreation

· Jen Francis, Parks Planner, Burlington Department of Parks
and Recreation

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