After our long winter and Gov. Phil Scott’s stay-at-home orders, most of us are itching to get outdoors. The biking, walking and running paths are there for you to get some exercise, and our nature parks and beach at Red Rocks for you to cool off.
Stopping off at a creemee stand is, of course, another option, as is dropping by the South Burlington Public Library on Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
The city council is encouraging you to stay active, to be safe, and to keep others healthy. You can bike and run mask-free, but, unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing one, we are asking that you wear a face covering to our local businesses and city services. The goal is to protect others, and this goes for non-symptomatic carriers of the virus that causes COVID-19. Until there is a vaccine, we are all responsible for taking care of one another.
Much of the public’s attention has been focused on actions in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the murder of George Floyd on May 25. At our meeting on June 8, Councilor Tim Barritt introduced – and the council unanimously passed – a resolution condemning the murder of George Floyd and expressing our solidarity with Black and Brown people in our country seeking justice, equality and the enjoyment of freedom.
It also requests that the South Burlington Police Department review its operating, recruitment and training policies, and, to that end, we will be engaging with the public and the police department in order to have an open discussion.
Already we have integrated into the City’s operating budget contracted services with the Howard Center, and we have a dedicated mental health counselor on call during the week. We realize that policing is not the appropriate response to all situations requiring intervention, and we are seeking to respond to our community’s needs responsibly.
Longstanding projects have been ongoing despite the pandemic slowdown. Along with the development review board, the council has been meeting regularly, although all other municipal committees and boards have not. Our public works team have also been working on a limited basis, but they are now able to repair our roads and cut grass.
The council has agreed to a three-month work plan for the replacement of the Kimball Avenue bridge. We unanimously passed a resolution, along with Winooski, requesting the Burlington International Airport’s director to apply for a federal grant to install a noise monitoring system to help inform our policy decisions.
He has done so, and our fingers are crossed.
We also unanimously passed a 3-month extension of Interim Zoning to allow the planning commission to resume and complete its regulatory work that will govern our remaining large swaths of open space.
These past months have been a challenge. There is still much work to do, including our planning for recreation and energy projects.
Together, we’ll get there.