05/26/10 — GATEWAY picks possible location

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GATEWAY picks possible location

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 26, 2010 1:46 PM

A 19-acre county-owned site on Clingman Street behind the county animal shelter was recommended Tuesday as the preferred site of a proposed $5.1 million administration/operations facility for the GATEWAY bus system.

Federal dollars would account for 80 percent of the project cost, with state and local funds dividing the remaining costs equally.

The site is one of three that consultants from URS of Morrisville have been looking at. No action was taken Tuesday by the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority and the recommendation will undergo further review.

Also considered were the former Chrysler Dodge dealership site on U.S. 70 East near William Street and the former W.P. Rose property on Grantham Street.

The three sites were judged and graded on a number of criteria including zoning, site size, shape and components, building size, condition and components, cost of purchase and renovation, location and access and ease of implementation.

The estimated cost of the Clingman Street property was listed as $607,800 compared to $1.850 million for the former car dealership property and $351,000 for the W.P. Rose location.

The Rose sites does not meet the minimum property size requirements. However, there is surrounding land that could be available for purchase.

As for the land off U.S. 70, county officials had voiced concerns about using such valuable and taxable land for such a facility.

Currently, there is no central location for maintenance of GATEWAY vehicles, said authority Director Alan Stubbs. The work is contracted out, he said.

The recommendation did not include building the facility to serve maintenance needs for city and county vehicles as well as GATEWAY. Nor did it include fueling capabilities -- that would continue to handled at the city fuel and maintenance site across Clingman Street from the proposed site.

That was not clear to Goldsboro-Wayne Transpor-tation Authority Board members who asked Kurt Neufang, URS senior transportation planner, if that had been included in the study.

Mayor Pro-Tem and board member Chuck Allen said he thought the study would address, good or bad, the feasibility of combining the city, county and GATEWAY maintenance.

"I didn't hear you address that," Allen said.

Neufang said he thought he had answered that during his PowerPoint presentation.

A section of the study is devoted to maintenance analysis, he said.

"It talks about the information we received from the city and county," he said. "What GATEWAY's situation is with regard to having vehicles sitting in regard to timeliness. The city providing their level of maintenance, they (GATEWAY) are not going to receive priority over police and fire and rightly so.

"What we recommend in our study is for a hybrid approach where the county continues to offer a third-party contract for maintenance, but that the county would also have the opportunity to contract with GATEWAY because now GATEWAY would have a maintenance facility of its own."

GATEWAY could subcontract maintenance work for the city and county, he said.

"What I hear you saying is that we are not going to combine them," said board member and City Councilman Bob Waller.

"Our recommendation is not to combine them," Neufang said. "Our recommendation is that we look at a hybrid approach because there are still ways to leverage dollars, but to do that GATEWAY would need a facility because the city facility cannot handle the expanding GATEWAY needs and the more than 200 vehicles that the county has."

Waller repeated that what he was hearing is that it would not be feasible to build a facility to combine all three operations.

Stubbs said there is another advantage to GATEWAY building its own facility -- the availability of federal and state funds.

Board members also wanted to know if operating costs had been considered and who would pay them.

"We need to know how it (operations) would be funded," Waller said.

Neufang said that had not been within the scope of the study. However, Stubbs said that he could provide some figures where that cost is concerned.

Neufang said that an advantage to the site is that the property value that could be counted towards the local match.

"That is huge. That is a significant amount of money," he said. "You could use that for the local match if the county would be gracious and say we need to go ahead and make this happen and allow you to put your facility there."

That would be a "key" to the project and would be "very attractive," he said.

Neufang said that the actual facility would require between three to four acres of the 19 acres.