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Beach closed? Burlington to look for other ways to let people cool off in the summer

People sit on a sandy beach and wade in shallow water on a sunny day. There are several trees giving shade.
April McCullum
Vermont Public
Beachgoers enjoy the sunshine and cool off in Lake Champlain at the beach at Sand Bar State Park in Milton on July 6, 2023.

City officials in Burlington say they'll soon begin exploring ways to increase the public’s access to water in the summer.

At a city council meeting in September, a city councilor pointed out that not everyone has access to Lake Champlain during hot summer days. Toxic blue-green algae blooms have long plagued Lake Champlain, but more frequent, intense rainfall episodes and warmer temperatures due to climate change makes conditions more favorable for blooms, which shutdown beach access.

Abigail Duke, a member of the Burlington Parks and Recreation Commission, told the council the group plans to explore different ways residents might have more access to water for cooling, swimming and fun. The water ideas range from low-cost and simple, like installing hoses and sprinklers, to a public pool. The effort is set to get underway next month.

"That’s going to be one of the primary things we're gonna be focusing on this winter," she said. "Looking at how we can increase water access for next year.”

Duke said the commission also plans to ask the public what they think.

At the meeting, Burlington City Council President Karen Paul, a Democrat, said a community pool would be a huge asset.

This story was produced in collaboration between Vermont Public and the Community News Service. The Community News Service is a student-powered partnership between the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program and community newspapers across Vermont.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Anna Berg is a junior at the University of Vermont. She is majoring in anthropology and political science and minoring in reporting and documentary storytelling.

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