Hello neighbors, below you'll find an overview of our City Council meeting that took place on Monday, April 18th.
Opportunity Consulting presented their findings from the Equity Audit that was done in partnership between the City and the Winooski School District. This audit focuses on outcomes, resident experiences, and available data to help identify areas of needed improvement related to equity, inclusion, and belonging in Winooski. Some of the key recommendations include diversifying our workforce, increasing civic participation among BIPOC and multilingual residents, education for landlords and renters, and increasing access to affordable housing, especially for marginalized members of the community. You can view the draft final report here.
We received a housing update as it relates to tracking the progress of the City's Strategic Vision area. This update includes a lot of helpful information and I encourage residents to take a moment and read it. As a reminder, the situation at 300 Main Street did not result in evictions, but I want to emphasize that the issue is still very much on our minds. When we learned of the mass eviction threat, the City convened a working group that included staff, representatives, and a multitude of community partners and service providers who were able to prioritize their resources to come up with creative solutions. State legislators and public pressure also played an important role during this process. This group will continue to meet monthly and is positioned to respond to any new incidents that may surface. Recommendations from this group and our Equity Audit include updates to our local zoning and land use regulations at the local level to support more housing and affordability. Our Planning Commission is currently looking at these topics and in addition, our Housing and Safe Healthy Connected People Commissions are working together on this issue and how it relates to local policies. To learn more about our Commissions and attend meetings, visit winooskivt.gov/commissions.
As you may remember, the City worked with a consultant to accomplish a parking study, which includes an inventory of our parking availability, analysis of future development impacts, and recommendations for staff on how to address related issues and future parking needs. The study found most streets in Winooski are only parked at 20-60% utilization, meaning that for the most part, we’re using less than half of the parking spaces we have in Winooski. Future development projects will increase utilization along Main Street areas in our Gateways, which falls well within the expected percentages. We will continue to monitor and assess parking requirements, capacity, and other related issues such as bike lanes and multimodal options. Click here to view the Parking Management Plan.
In other news, the Council formally adopted 2 important resolutions: the Declaration of Inclusion; and Support for Adjusting Student Weights in Vermont’s Education Funding System. As a reminder, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) survey is still available online - if you haven't yet, please fill out our survey to tell us about the negative impacts you've experienced during the pandemic. Your responses will help inform how appx. $2 million in federal relief funding will be spent. Staff are putting together a plan to collect multilingual responses, so be on the lookout for those announcements. To learn more about this process, visit winooskivt.gov/arpa.
Lastly, I want to take a moment and thank our former Interim City Manager Wendy Harrison for her service to Winooski. Wendy has moved on to another project and we're grateful for her help over these last few months! Jon Rauscher, our Public Works Director, is currently serving as the Interim City Manager until Elaine Wang starts on May 16th. You can learn more about Elaine here.
As always, feel free to reach out any time.
Mayor Kristine Lott
firstname.lastname@example.org / 802 766 1988