City Council Moves Several Projects Forward

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by Valerie Garner

James Cosby, chairman of the Virginia Railway Passenger Station Restoration Committee, told council at Monday’s meeting that an additional $30,000 was needed for legal fees associated with the project. “Due to an oversight in the line item budget, I have overlooked legal fees,” said Cosby.

The extensive passenger station project resulted in complex bid documents of over 800 pages. “We are dealing with three different funding sources,” said Cosby – the Federal Transit Administration, Brownfields grants, and Transport 21 funds.

Bids for restoration will be due by November 22. Construction will begin by the end of the year with completion expected by fall of 2013.

Vice Mayor Dave Trinkle said, “it is important for the public to know this is an extra grant that you are working through and it gets very complicated.” He supported the additional request but said, “I do worry about the timing and the delays.” Trinkle asked Cosby if there was a chance construction would again be delayed.

Cosby said, “I’ve learned with much sadness that if something can go wrong it does.” He added that he’s been working on the project almost full time for over four years  and that schedules they have made before seemed reasonable. “We haven’t met a one of them,” said Cosby.

However, he did not anticipate any more delays. Alison Blanton, who serves on the committee, said that phase-one funding was already available.

In phase-one the building will be stabilized, asbestos and lead paint removed and the roof will be replaced in its entirety. That pleased council, who had questioned the weeds and trees growing through the roof. The interior and landscaping will take place in phase two. No city funds are required for the project.

Roanoke River Greenway: Valley Greenway’s coordinator, Liz Belcher, said that $7 million was estimated to complete the Regional Greenway system from Green Hill Park in Roanoke County through Salem and Roanoke. This would hook the Roanoke River Greenway to the Tinker Creek Greenway. Six million of the amount is needed to connect Bridge Street to Salem.

This year’s application requests $998,400 in Enhancement Grant funding. The required local 20% match is being provided through donation of land, existing Greenway capital project funds and other funding sources.

“We’d like to see the core 18.3 miles finished in the next three years,” said Belcher. They are soliciting contributions from businesses and individuals to help match locality money.

Gainsboro History Walk: Phases one and two are expected to cost $103,180 and phases three and four are expected to cost $84,300 for a total project cost of $187,480. This application includes a request for funding for phases one and two only. The matching funds will be provided through in-kind contributions of architectural design services and the design of a brochure for the walking tour. Cash contributions are expected from a City of Roanoke Neighborhood Development Grant, the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation and the Gainsboro SW Neighborhood Organization. No additional City funding is expected.

Virginia Museum of Transportation Claytor Pavilion Improvements: A new project request for improvements to the Claytor Pavilion. For this Enhancement Grant application, the Museum sought $533,200 in funding to support phase one.