Skatepark Selected for Community Development Achievement Award
Check out this recent press release from the Mayor’s Office:
OFFICE OF MAYOR MIRO WEINBERGER
149 Church Street | Burlington, VT 05401 | 802.865.7272
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2016
Contact: Jennifer Kaulius, 802.324.2505
Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces New Burlington Skatepark
Selected for Community Development Achievement Award
Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced that the new skatepark, a project feature of Waterfront Access North (WAN) that was opened in November 2015, has been selected for a 2016 Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award from the National Community Development Association (NCDA). The City of Burlington is pleased to join other communities selected to receive this award.
“The new skatepark is an exciting part of the rebirth of the northern waterfront and – as the crowds at the park even in the late fall months demonstrated – a great addition to the region’s recreational offerings,” said Mayor Weinberger. “On behalf of the hundreds of people who worked to see the new skatepark become reality over many years, I am pleased to accept this award, and am grateful to the National Community Development Association for their recognition of this important work.”
The new skatepark replaced an older, aging facility and was relocated amidst a backdrop of Lake Champlain to enhance the redevelopment of the entire WAN project. The City leveraged its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Section 108/Brownfield Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) funds with other federal, state, local, and private dollars for this project.
The project involved the remediation of a significant brownfield and has resulted in a new public facility to benefit community members with a low-barrier entry to a non-team sport for different generations. The project’s process was a model for civic engagement and advocacy for a public facility. Young community volunteers, the next generation of our civic leaders, participated in the development of the skatepark and learned that government can be responsive to their needs.
Audrey Nelson was the first Deputy Executive Secretary of NCDA, and she grew up in an inner city Chicago neighborhood. Audrey’s intense commitment to her neighborhood, her local program efforts, and her drive to serve low-income people was cut short by her death from cancer at the young age of 29. NCDA is proud to honor the memory of Audrey through these awards. In 1987, NCDA established the Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award to recognize exemplary uses of the CDBG program and the partnerships between local governments and non-profit organizations to assist low- and moderate-income people.
The City of Burlington provides CDBG funding to address critical and unmet community needs including those for housing, public facilities, infrastructure, economic development, public services, and more. The City continues to ensure that the waterfront remains a part of the public domain where people of all ages, socio-economic status, and race can enjoy the waterfront activities. This skatepark is the first recreational waterfront activity to be open throughout the year and is located in the City’s Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area, where the U.S. Census concludes the highest percentage of low- and moderate-income people in Burlington live.
The City made every effort to engage the community in all facets of the project’s development process. The local skateboard community volunteers learned about the government process and how to raise money through events, contacting businesses, and grant-writing. The City stressed the importance of civic engagement to ensure public input in the project, including the design of the skatepark itself. The WAN project, including skatepark construction, was made possible through City collaboration of Burlington’s Community & Economic Development Office, the Department of Public Works, and the Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department.
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