Burlington Wards 4 & 7 NPA Meeting 11/16/2010 streaming on-line

Residents came to learn about the 11 Park Dept divisions, and to talk with Director Mari Steinbach and Commission Chair Dave Hartnett about what improvements they'd like to see.

There was an opportunity to fill out a survey on PARKS, and to discuss issues informally with commissioners in small groups. Following the program, there were reports from council, legislature and school commission, with opportunity forr residents to speak about issues in the city.

A Blue Ribbon task force was created to take on the responsibility of maintaining the waterfront rec path. South End residents want a dog play area they can walk to -- and they've been working on this for 13 years. A city-wide group seeks the same for every area of the city, to relieve the pressure on "dog parks," and to reduce the city's carbon pawprint. Livable City for Dogs, with dog play areas in every ward, is their goal.


6:45     WELCOME and Sign-In. Dessert served by Nancy Winn.

7:00     INTRODUCTIONS, Announcements, Ground Rules, Agenda

7:10     NPA BUSINESS – Minutes, resolutions*

  1. That Parks Commission meetings be taped regularly for public viewing on Ch17.
  2. That the Parks Commission move ahead ASAP on basic finishing of Miller Center lease space, using the $40K grant already received for this purpose.
7:15     LEGACY PROJECT: Jennifer Green, sustainable city Coordinator. [10 min]

7:25     PARKS DEPT OVERVIEW:  Presentation by Director, Mari Steinbach [25 min]

7:50     PARKS SURVEY: Commission Chairman, Dave Hartnett. Commissioners/residents discuss/complete surveys [10 min]

8:00     OPEN DISCUSSION:  Residents provide ideas/input on what we value about our parks, our priorities, what we want to preserve, and what we want to improve? Questions, comments, suggestions. [30 min]

8:30     REPORTS from City Councilors combined with OPEN FORUM for residents on other city issues

9:00     ADJOURN

 *Note: The resolutions asking Parks Commission to videotape their meetings, and to move forward ASAP on finishing of MNiller space, passed unanimously. Parks Chairman Hartnett reassured everyone that the Parks Commission plans to tape their meetings, and they are already moving ahead with specs for the finish work of lease space in the Miller Center. There are presently two child care programs that have expressed interest in leasing the space. Residents have expressed concerns about the child care needs of North End families, primarily for infants and subsidized care,and they want to be sure a child care program at Miller Center meets priority community needs.

Commissioners Hartnett, Pearson, and Ewing joined us, and answered residents questions while they filled out surveys on park use and priorities. Residents congratulated Director Steinbach on her successful first year in Burlington. We presented her with our Protect Leddy Woods staff, decorated with watercolor birds painted by Gayle Inglis. Mari was also presented with a signed photograph of a quiet, peaceful trail in Leddy Woods, donated by Carolyn Bates. We also gave her a notebook filled with information we collected by Leddy Park. Director Steinback explained that the department will be continuing to inventory parks assets, refine data collection, and expand budget detail, and there will be a follow-up presentation to all NPAs in the spring.

School Commissioners Haik Bedrosian, Dist 3.2 State Legislator Mark Larson, and City Councilor, Ward 7, Paul Decelles updated us on current issues, and took questions/comments. Haik encouraged residents to get involved in School Board's debate about Challenges for Change, inviting everyone to come to the Miller Center on Nov 30 to learn more.

Mark updated us on challenges facing the legislature, explained why the Challenges are different for Burlington, and praised Angela for stepping up to run for office. He strongly encouraged people to check out the work of the VT Blue Ribbon Tax Commission. They are doing a very interesting analysis of Vermont's tax code which anyone interested in taxes in Vermont should read. Their work challenges many perceptions about Vermont taxes.

Paul was asked to check into BED borrowing from retirement fund and cemetery fund to make purchase not approved by recent bond vote which failed to gain the required 2/3 majority. It's puzzling how Lakeview Cemetery can be running a deficit budget, and need Friends to fund maintenance of chapel, gazebo, fountains, when Cemetary Fund has about a million dollars that BED thinks to borrow. Paul agreed to look into this.