Burlington awarded $1.5 million boating infrastructure grant

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Burlington awarded $1.5 million boating infrastructure grant

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 12:53pm -- tim

The US Fish & Wildlife Service has announced that the City of Burlington has been awarded a $1.5 million grant to enhance boating opportunities at the Perkins Pier Marina. This grant was one of 16 competitive grants given out this year through the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant program to enhance boating opportunities throughout the country. The project will improve Burlington’s harbor protection, provide public access to the water and increase the number of transient boat slips available on the waterfront.

“The visitors to Lake Champlain who come to boat, fish, swim and enjoy the beautiful scenery provide an important boost to Vermont’s tourist economy and other local businesses,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin. “This project will provide additional opportunities for people to shop, dine and support the city’s waterfront district.”

“We are thrilled that the City of Burlington has received this important grant that will allow the city to significantly increase public access to our downtown waterfront from Lake Champlain,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. “These funds will allow us to make progress on the PlanBTV roadmap and implement an idea seeded by the Public Investment Action Plan public competition.”

PlanBTV is the City of Burlington’s master plan for sustainable development in the downtown and waterfront area. The city held a competition for concept proposals for downtown and waterfront development ideas as part of its Public Investment Action Plan.

“I’d like to thank Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Director Jesse Bridges and his team for creating the marina plan and both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department for recognizing Burlington’s potential and making this announcement possible,” said Mayor Weinberger.

The City of Burlington will cover $1 million of the total $2.5 million price tag for the job. The city’s local match will be covered from a variety of potential sources including future slip revenues, private support and the city’s capital budgets including Penny for Parks.

“This is great news for the City of Burlington as they continue to work hard on improving boating and fishing opportunities on the waterfront,” said Mike Wichrowski, lands and facilities coordinator for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “These funds are administered by our department and are passed directly to the city, where they will benefit the entire boating and business community of Burlington.”

According to Wichrowski, this grant award equals the total of all awards over the past 15 years from this program to the state of Vermont.

“This department and the city’s administration are focused on providing increased public access to the waterfront,” said Jesse Bridges. “This new facility will create a public park on the water that will accommodate all types of boating, increase the public’s engagement directly with Lake Champlain and will generate a significant economic boost to the region.”

“The additional harbor protection will also benefit the many existing waterfront partners like Lake Champlain Transportation, the ECHO Aquarium, Lake Champlain Sailing Center and existing boating infrastructure,” said Bridges.

“Anglers and boaters make these grants possible, helping communities build and enhance facilities that provide recreational opportunities while supporting jobs and economic growth,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, in a press release issued by the service. “These funds pay for floating docks, fixed piers, mooring buoys, sewage pump-out stations and other infrastructure that benefits fish and wildlife habitat while providing access for outdoor recreation.”

Photo rendering: The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. (Current pier layout from Google Earth imagery).