Burlington hails its civic leaders

Students, community members and Burlington city leaders gathered in the Memorial Auditorium Annex on Thursday, March 31 for Celebrate Burlington! The event was held by the Burlington Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) and the Burlington Legacy Project. Event-goers sat in seats provided as well as stood in the back of the auditorium, gathered around food provided by various Burlington restaurants, including A Single Pebble, Sweetwaters and Sugar Snap. Center for Rural Studies professor Will “Chip” Sawyer spoke at the event about how Burlington is moving toward its economic, community and sustainability goals. One goal that Sawyer discussed was for Burlington to act as “a larger driver in economic activity in Vermont.” He also discussed diversity rates in Burlington, congratulating the city on its increasing diversity. “[Burlington] is probably the most diverse community in the state,” Sawyer said. Facts about community issues from the past year were posted on the walls along with questions for community members to answer. One example of the posters was facts on housing availability. Questions for community members included: “What else should we measure?”; “What does this tell you?”; and “Can you share your story?” One community member commented on the housing availability facts: “Student rentals have driven up the costs of single family homes.” The event ended with the awarding of the Herb Bloomberg Award for Community Activism and the Peter Clavelle Award. The Herb Bloomberg Award was presented to Jon Grieeser, who led the development of the Burlington bike/walk path. Former mayor Peter Clavelle presented his award via video to the auditorium from Albania. This year’s award was presented to Yocoube Jacob Borge, who works with refugee settlement in Burlington. “[Borge is] a professor whose leadership has advanced social equity, environmental stewardship, quality education, economic growth and vitality in Burlington,” Burlington Legacy Project Co-Chair Joe Spiedel said in his introduction. One past recipient for the Peter Clavelle award was current UVM Provost Jane Knodell.