A key connecting road in the city between Dorset Street and Hinesburg Road re-opened to through traffic last week.
Market Street was closed in early September and work began to widen the road to accommodate all modes of transportation, and to re-pave. The pre-Election Day hope of city officials was that voters would approve the City Center City Hall/Library Project, and site preparation work could begin soon as well.
The road connects to Dorset Street in the city’s major retail shopping area, across from the University Mall and just south of the Blue Mall.
“We’re so glad to have that road re-opened in time for the holidays,” said City Manager Kevin Dorn last week.
On Nov. 6, voters did overwhelmingly approve the $21.8 million City Center project, which will be built at 180 Market Street, just east of the new Allard Square senior housing project (opening Nov. 29) and in front of the Rick Marcotte Central School. The three-story building will house a new library, senior and recreation center, and city hall.
Now that Market Street has been re-paved, Dorn said last week that construction will continue along the sides of the street throughout some portion of the early winter.
A wheelchair-accessible, multi-use path will be built for pedestrians and cyclists on both sides of the street, along with amenities such as on-street parking, LED street lighting, and landscaping. There will also be traffic calming and safety features in place.
A stormwater pond west of Potash Brook will be accessible to the community and serve both as a water quality treatment and retention area as well as an attractive recreation space with paths, landscaping, and a public art installation commissioned by the city from Tyler Vendituoli. The pond will eventually be part of the entrance to City Center Park, which opened in August.
Development is already budding on Market Street with the Allard Square senior housing opening, townhomes at the Hinesburg Road end constructed in 2016, permitting of a 60-unit apartment project and a townhome development, and voter approval for the city center/library/senior center civic building.
“The completion of Market Street will serve as a strong stimulus to the private sector to build out City Center, a high density, mixed use urban downtown incorporating public amenities to potentially include a library, city hall, and senior center,” said City Council Chair Helen Riehle at the Market Street groundbreaking last June. “Our hope is that many hundreds of units of housing will be built in City Center making use of public investments and infrastructure, thereby taking pressure off the need to build in more remote, rural areas of our community.”
VHB, Inc. is leading the project design, SE Group is the lead landscape architecture firm on the team, and Whole Systems Design, LLC is charged with designing and developing human habitats.
The project is being funded by a variety of sources including $5.5 million in federal grant money.
In November 2016, South Burlington voters approved authorization to obtain a municipal bond to fund the project with TIF District financing (Tax Increment Financing), a tool offered by the state to stimulate economic development by capturing the tax revenue on new development in a district.
Construction is scheduled to conclude in the fall of 2019.
SOURCE: Staff Report, The Other Paper