City Center Initiative
The vision for City Center is to effectively blend existing neighborhoods, commercial areas, natural areas, and undeveloped properties into the South Burlington downtown. City Center increases connectivity with new walkable and bikable cross streets; an integrated mix of housing, retail, and employment; and most importantly, by creating places for community.
South Burlington’s City Center initiative supports this vision by establishing public buildings and gathering spaces and building or reconstructing streets to connect to Dorset Street, Williston Road and Hinesburg Road. Combined, these investments provide opportunities for housing and employment in an area well served by public transit and existing public utilities - surrounded by and linked to existing neighborhoods.
—South Burlington Comprehensive Plan, adopted spring 2016
The vision for South Burlington’s downtown - City Center - has been a dominant feature of the City’s adopted Comprehensive Plan as far back as 1985. For more than thirty years, the community has planned for and invested in the development of our own downtown. This vision is now being realized.
March 2, 2021 Ballot - Article III - Garden Street - PASSED!
The specific improvements to be constructed with the bond proceeds are Garden Street (at Dorset Street and the connector to Midas Drive) as well as related costs. Article III was on the March 2, 2021 ballot.
The Public Information Notice (online) provided information on Article III, the portion of the Garden Street project to be funded, TIF District Financing, related costs, TIF Increment, the proposed debt, project outcomes and a financial model. These FAQs answer the questions that pop into our heads regarding the article.
ARTICLE III - PASSED
Shall the City Council be authorized to pledge the credit of the City and to borrow up to Four Million Two Thousand Five Hundred Fifty Dollars ($4,002,550) in order to build Vermont Economic Progress Council-approved City Center Tax Increment Financing District (TIF District) public infrastructure and capital improvements, specifically: engineering and construction of the Garden Street Project between Dorset Street and Williston Road and the upgrade of intersections at White Street/Midas Drive and Hinesburg Road/Patchen Road together with associated site work and project costs, and to pay related costs, specifically, approval for reimbursement of TIF eligible related costs incurred in the establishment, implementation and administration of the TIF District? To date, the cumulative amount of voter approved City Center TIF debt is $25,400,000.
The vote on the Article provided voter authorization for funding to complete segments A and C shown below (B will be completed by the private sector, D will be fully funded in a future phase):
How does Tax Increment Financing (TIF) work?
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) captures future new tax income from new private development (growth that doesn't exist today) around public projects (amenities), that would otherwise go to the State Education Fund. This new revenue collected over 20 years may be invested in public infrastructure and facilities right here in South Burlington's City Center. In 2017, the City began to collect TIF revenue that is used on TIF projects.
75% of revenue from the new value may be used finance TIF public projects. 25% of the revenue from the new value goes to the City General Fund and the State Education Fund.
The South Burlington Public Library and City Hall opened to the Public on July 23, 2021. This project broke ground on Market Street in 2019, and includes a new Library, Senior Center, Clerk’s Office, Auditorium and City Hall. This new community anchor, the City's first public library building and first dedicated senior center, is being built to serve the public for 100 years as a hub of democracy and learning. This building has flexible spaces to support community by providing a variety of spaces to gather, socialize, and engage in educational and other activities.
Public projects of this nature have been part of the planning for South Burlington’s City Center for decades.
The primary funding was 1) reserve funds that are being accumulated every year as part of the general fund and built into today's tax rate, and 2) Tax Increment Financing revenues provided by the State. Funds are also provided through capital funds from the Library Board of Trustees and an Electric Vehicle charging station grant from State. The result is that no additional property taxes were required from South Burlington residents to pay for the debt on this project. The debt required for this project was approved by the voters in November of 2018. Learn more..
2016 Vote Authorization
This first public vote in 2016 on City Center Tax Increment Financing (TIF) in City Center funded two projects:
- the reconstruction of Market Street,
- the development of City Center Park Phase I
Completed: Reconstruction of Market Street
This project was completed in November of 2019. It rebuilt Market Street—from Dorset Street to Hinesburg Road—as a downtown main street. Supporting pedestrian, bike, and vehicular traffic, all of the stormwater is collected into stormwater ponds west and east of Tributary 3 to the Potash Brook. This street is designed to feel comfortable for all users, supporting a high volume at low speeds. Crosswalks are signed and lighted and the western stormwater pond complex is designed as a gateway to City Center Park (Phase II) with a future bicycle path connection to City Center Park Phase I, now accessed off of Barrett Street.
Completed: City Center Park (Phase I)
This project, completed in 2018, is a publicly accessible passive recreation space with trails, marked entrances, seating, discoverable mysteries, and sufficient infrastructure to allow for the enjoyment and protection of tributaries to the Potash Brook and associated wetlands and buffers. This phase included construction of a trail network—connecting Iby Street to Barrett Street—while maintaining important natural features and providing recreational opportunities. Years of planning have gone into the design for City Center Park, with extensive engagement and input.
The 7.65 acre wooded parcel of land is tucked into the Iby/Barrett Street neighborhood and is accessible from both streets.
City Council Approved CIP & Process
The Capital Improvement Program includes the capital projects that may be built using TIF District Financing and details projected cash flows to implement the project and to make payments on anticipated financing, by cost type and funding source. NOTE that this a is a planning document, funds may or may not be committed. This is updated each winter.
The Project Implementation Process flow chart detail the phases and steps that are taken to implement each project using TIF District Financing.
Access the videos of past meetings on CCTV's Channel 17 or view the powerpoint presentations.