Friday, January 25, 2008


After almost 8 months of petitioning Green Democratic Alliance were able to get the question of demolition on the March 2008 city election ballot. Now voters will truly have their say when it comes to the future of the Moran Plant building and surrounding site.

From the Green Democratic Alliance website---
Our goal, as the Green Democratic Alliance, is to help Burlington make that decision based on the facts and by broadening the public discussion. We are by no means opposed to many of the great ideas in the city's redevelopment plan. We simply want a healthy debate and an informed vote on redevelopment vs. smart demolition.
Most people think of demolition as razing a structure with one swing of a wrecking ball or a single dynamite blast and then hauling the rubble to a landfill. But times have changed. When we say demolition we mean 'smart demolition' or rather a technique known as 'deconstruction'. Smart demolition or deconstruction is environmentally beneficial because the brick, steel, concrete etc. from the Moran Plant building would be recycled enabling these materials to be re-used in the construction industry or sold to a salvaging company. This prevents the materials from being carted off to a landfill and helps reduce the amount of new virgin materials used for construction projects.
If the Moran Plant is deconstructed, our hope is that Burlington will choose to use the site as a multi-use public park that is free and open to all with park benches, gardens, and other basic amenities including retaining the granite Moran Sculpture and a home for the Community Sailing Center. We do not propose deconstruction as a means for any kind of future large-scale development projects on the Moran Plant site. We hope Burlington will choose to keep the waterfront accessible and green for future generations!
The city's large-scale redevelopment plan is expensive and is estimated to cost $21 million in which the city's share would be $7,369,996. While the city will seek federal sources to cover its share, the possibility exists that a finance vote may go to the voters, which if passed, would mean an increase in property taxes. Redevelopment would also require a significant amount of new virgin materials which will negatively impact the environment by continuing the cycle of natural resource depletion. With a development plan of this scale, there will be a significant increase in traffic on Lake Street and on the waterfront which will further complicate waterfront accessibility and negatively impact the environment.

We believe the city's plan is short-sighted as it does not take into serious consideration many of the above mentioned factors nor does it even consider the preservation of the granite Moran Sculpture which was a result from the International Sculpture Symposium, which took place on the shores of Lake Champlain in 1990. The focus of the international collaboration of eleven established sculptors was man and the natural environment, ecology, environmental change, cultural life and history of the region. The Moran Sculpture preserved a footprint on the waterfront in hopes that it would never be developed, as stated in the Burlington City Arts: Art in Public Places/Walking Art Tour Guide. It's certainly ironic that 18 years later this beautiful sculpture may be removed to make room for development.


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