In November, the Green Mountain Children's Museum pulled out of the Moran Plant redevelopment project due to financing issues. Too bad, because I was really looking forward to being barfed on by a hysterical child who can't find his mommy after falling into a pit of plastic balls. Anyway, the vacancy created by the museum's withdrawal means there's a good chunk of space in the 38,000-square-foot Moran Center that needs to be filled.
If you read Shay Totten's recent blog post about the Moran Plant redevelopment, you will learn a few things. 1) There are four potential new tenants for the space, 2) The city is asking for public comment on these, and 3) With apologies to Burlington City Arts, Burlington College, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, none of the tenant ideas are really all that awesome or creative. But don't worry — I put my tiny thinking cap on and set my mind to coming up with some rad ideas that will get people coming down to the waterfront every damn day.
First, I propose a ninja supply store. If author Dave Eggers can get away with opening a pirate supply store in San Francisco and a superhero supply store in Brooklyn, as well as a store with gear for space travel, robots and secret agents, then I can certainly open a ninja supply store in Burlington. I realize that, like pirates, ninjas are a little played out as a trend. But I'm pretty sure the covert art of ninjutsu, with its throwing stars and nunchecks, never goes out of style. Also, who wouldn't want to see a live demonstration of blow darts or katana swords?
Second, I would like to see a carnivore petting zoo in the Moran Plant. This would be sort of thrilling, right? You could actually go into cages with leopards, wolverines, crocodiles, mongoose (mongooses?), Kodiak bears, etc. and pet them. (See video of me petting a "sacred" crocodile in Mali here.) Maybe if you were really brave, you could feed them lunch. You could buy T-shirts that said, "I went to the Lake Champlain Carnivore Petting Zoo and all I got was a missing limb." Pretty awesome. Amazing possibilities.
My third idea seems like a no-brainer — a sex toy emporium. Now, I know what you're thinking: "This is a family place. You can't have a sex toy store in a place where children might go." But I disagree. What better way to teach kids about the magic and wonder of human sexuality than by showing them the Hitachi Magic Wand with G-Spotter Deluxe Attachment? Kids need to learn about dildos, cock rings, prostate massagers and nipple clamps some time, so why not with mom and dad? Or dad and dad. Or grandma and her submissive servant. Whatever. The point is, the people of Burlington need a place to get sex toys that is convenient and accessible and doesn't make them feel like dirty pervs. The Moran Center is perfect.
Anything going into the Moran Center must adhere to the Public Trust Doctrine, which limits the building’s potential adaptation to cultural, educational, recreational, governmental, wharfing and railroad purposes. I'm pretty sure I'm following the guidelines with my ideas.
Now here's the exciting piece — the city actually cares about what you think! They are asking for the public's input on the potential tenants, and I'm asking each of the three of you reading this to go to one of the Neighborhood Planning Assembly meetings and make your voices heard. Forget an "art center" or a "boat museum." Those are lame. What we really need in this city is something spicy, something new. Like one of my ideas. I'm pretty much certain a sex toy emporium fulfills a number of the Public Trust Doctrine's requirements. Sex toys are educational and recreational, and sometimes they have to do with wharfing and railroads. So let's do it!
Go to one of the meetings listed in Shay's post and speak up. And, if you would like a ninja supply store, a carnivore petting zoo or a sex toy emporium in Burlington, please let city officials know.