The Lake Champlain Basin Science Center : a flagship project in the Burlington Waterfront Revitalization

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Southern New Hampshire University
As stated in the thesis project, "For more than a decade now, the City of Burlington has fought for community access and control over one of the City's most important assets - the Lake Champlain waterfront. At the heart of the waterfront, isolated behind barbed wire fence, sits the U.S. Navy Reserve Center. The facility is used one weekend each month and otherwise remains dormant and locked. For more than ten years, the City has pursued relocating the Navy to open up the site for public use. Finally, in 1995 we are on the brink of converting this underutilized building to a Lake Champlain Basin Science Center--a dynamic, hands-on museum dedicated to demonstrating the ecology, history and culture of the Lake Champlain basin. By better understanding our past -- how Lake Champlain has affected human activity and how our actions have impacted the lake, we can make better choices for our future. The Science Center serves as a flagship project for the entire Burlington waterfront revitalization, cementing our goal of public access for ALL residents to this spectacular resource. Although the ultimate goal for the Lake Champlain Basin Science Center is a ribbon cutting on New Years 1997, much progress has been made in the last 17 months. In between writing up my final project and completing the 501(c)(3) application to the IRS to incorporate the new organization, we have a signed conceptual agreement between the City of Burlington, the University of Vermont and the Science Center Board. We have a capital campaign underway in its quiet stages with our sights set on launching a public splash this summer. We have moved 180 degrees from creating two separate facilities of research and a museum into one integrated museum where the research itself becomes an exhibit interpreted for a public audience. We have better defined the scope of the Science Center's program, at least conceptually. Our plan is to integrate the ecology, culture and history of the Lake Champlain Basin into a program that will teach all age visitors about how the Basin was formed, how we have come to know this, and what our place is within it. We have successfully secured a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to buy the City out of the project and cover the City's debt so that the non-profit will no longer be strapped with an annual debt. We have completed conceptual drawings for a brand new 40,000 square foot facility, and have received nothing but positive responses from many different groups in the community about the project thus far. We have two part-time staff people, including myself, hired to keep the project moving." (Library-derived description)