A major fundraising milestone has been reached for the $60 million Burlington Bike Path project. Two miles are now rehabilitated, but there are still six more to go.
"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give," said John Bossange, quoting Winston Churchill to a large group along the waterfront near North Beach. And that was the sentiment Tuesday in Burlington.
"This rehabilitated section of the Path is not just a new path with clean pavement, it is a new sense of place," stated Jesse Bridges, Director of Burlington's Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department. Bridges was alongside Mayor Miro Weinberger and other Bike Path advocates to celebrate a milestone reached. "We are proud to announce we reached our goal of raising one million dollars in support of the total rehabilitation of the bike path," announced Bossange, Chair of the Burlington Park Foundation.
The Foundation was established in 2013 with the goal of raising money for the rehabilitation effort. Those donation have come from more than 250 residents and businesses. "This community understands why investments in public places not only enhances the value of our property and our businesses, but also the quality of life," said Bossange.
Bridges says that money has been used during the latest phase of the rehab. The Bike Path has been relocated closer to the waterfront, trees and plants have been added, a new boardwalk installed, and Pause Places are being built.
"This is not a donation, this is an investment. We are investing in the health of the community through this partnership with the City of Burlington. Our investment in the Bike Path directly aligns with our core mission of improving the health of the communities we serve," said Maria McClellan, a member of the University of Vermont Medical Center. The organization partnered with Burlington and has made a donation to purchase outdoor fitness equipment for three Pause Places. "If we are going to keep people well and keep them out of the hospital, we need to promote healthy lifestyles," added McClellan.
With 6 miles to go, Mayor Weinberger reminds Burlingtonians that with the Parks Foundation reaching its goal, there are no more funding sources. It's now up to voters to make sure the rehabilitation continues. "If the voters of Burlington want to continue this great era of park building, they need to vote yes on 1 and 2 on November 8th," said the Mayor.
Many regular Bike Path users know a long stretch has been closed for some time due to construction. Bridges says that will open back up, and the Path will be available throughout the winter months.
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