08/21/11 — Streetscape, station won't get grant money

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Streetscape, station won't get grant money

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 21, 2011 1:50 AM

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Union Station will stayed locked up and unused longer than some community members had hoped. The Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. will not receive any money from the Transportation, Community and Systems Preservation grant. The Center Street Streetscape Project will also not be receiving any money from the grant.

The city of Goldsboro will need to find another source of funding to complete its two signature downtown revitalization projects as Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Thompson received word Thursday that the city's plans for the Center Street Streetscape and Union Station renovations were passed over.

The two projects, both priced at $6 million, were submitted separately for the federal grant, and while city officials didn't anticipate both projects receiving funding, Ms. Thompson said she was disappointed that neither project will be part of the state's $10 million portion of the funding.

"Although we're disappointed, we're not deterred," she said.

The renovation project for the 100 block of Center Street is out for bid and bids will close Aug. 29, but the remaining five blocks earmarked for the Streetscape plan will have to wait until other funding can be acquired.

"With the other five blocks we will continue to seek grants to help support the project. We'll be discussing with council and city staff other ways to pursue funding," she said.

Still, she said the first block of the project, which has less traffic than the more southern blocks, will allow the city to work out the kinks of the project before beginning work on the blocks where more businesses could be impacted by construction.

"It will give us an opportunity to test and get all of the bugs and issues out for when we implement the blocks with denser commercial traffic," she said.

And as far as the Union Station renovation, which the city has viewed as a way to fast-track the return of commuter and passenger rail to the city, Ms. Thompson said the quest for grant money will continue next week.

"We'll still work with and identify funding to move forward with that project," she said, "There's another grant funded by NCDOT that will be available in the future, one for transportation construction projects and a group is meeting at the city to make selections next week. (The Union Station project) will be a pretty good contender, for sure."