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Burlington city council approves $100,000 in funding to make downtown safer for businesses

From NBC5,


On Monday, Burlington city councilors approved the authorization of a $100,000 support fund to make downtown safer, especially for local businesses impacted by crime.

It passed 11-1, with Ward 3 City Councilor Joe Magee saying no.

Fifty thousand dollars will come from ARPA funds and the rest will be matched by the Pomerleau Family Foundation.

The proposal came in response to increasing concerns from downtown business leaders about crime, especially in the Church Street Marketplace.

According to the Office of Business & Workforce Development, changes to the state's motel voucher program in June, coupled with a nationwide drug crisis, have had a negative impact on commercial activity in Burlington.

Some businesses have reported having to reduce hours or change store models because of public drug use, retail theft, and safety concerns expressed by employees, who walk to their cars at night.

In October, Outdoor Gear Exchange announced plans to downsize its flagship store on Church Street, and open an alternative location in Essex Junction.

The funding will go towards a two-pronged approach to help support local businesses.

One portion will go towards a "better lighting and security" project, to help employees feel safe walking to their cars at night. The Office of Business & Workforce Development hopes this will help store owners retain workers and stay open longer.

The other portion will help fund a "Love Burlington" campaign, to encourage shoppers to support local business during the holiday season.


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