Federal Grant To Boost Waterfront Project

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(Host) Burlington has spent two decades turning its Lake Champlain waterfront from a hub of industry into a recreational center.

As VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, a new federal grant may help the city finish the job.

(Sneyd) The U.S. Transportation Department released a $1.5 billion in federal stimulus money to pay for "innovative" projects around the country.

Burlington got more than $3.1 million for a project that’s supposed to complete its popular Waterfront Park.

Larry Kupferman is director of Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office.

(Kupferman) "The waterfront north project would extend Lake Street out to the boundary of the ‘urban reserve’ and improve parking, bike lane access, pedestrian access to the north end of Waterfront Park, as well as make available further development opportunities out in that area."

(Sneyd) Burlington’s waterfront was once an industrial center. It has been redeveloped in stages for more than 20 years.

A boardwalk, the city Boathouse and the popular bike path now dominate the space where a rail yard once stood alongside a derelict grain tower.

But the northern end of the park hasn’t changed a lot. A former power plant towers over the area and the rest is overgrown and not used much.

Kupferman says the city hopes the new federal money will bring vitality to what’s known as the "urban reserve."

(Kupferman) "This would certainly enhance and brings to completion a certain desired design that completes Waterfront Park."

(Sneyd) Kupferman says construction probably will get started in 2011.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd.

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