02/03/13 — Council to decide future of downtown

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Council to decide future of downtown

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on February 3, 2013 1:50 AM

The future of downtown Goldsboro's signature revitalization project is expected to be decided Monday night as the City Council plans to once again discuss whether to proceed with the Center Street Streetscape Project.

A resolution due to be voted on during the Council's 7 p.m. session in Historic City Hall will ask to authorize up to $300,000 to provide for engineering and design services.

Since the completion of the first phase of the project in November, the Council has been debating the continued renovation of the next two blocks of downtown's main street.

The 200 block of North Center Street was renovated over the course of six months at a cost of just less than $2 million.

Supporters of the project said the wider sidewalks, inviting landscaping and shade trees would lead to more investment downtown, highlighting late in the process the infrastructure needs the project would address as well.

Opponents said the construction was choking the life out of existing businesses and that the investment was a waste of money that wouldn't draw more interest downtown.

Council members have sparred over the project as well, with District 3 Councilman William Goodman leading the effort against the project.

Goodman said the Center Street business community was completely against the continuation of the project. An unofficial News-Argus survey of business operators there showed views were mixed, however, with most in favor of the project.

Other members of the council suggested they were either for the project or would like to wait until the figures come in to evaluate its continuation.

Finance Director Kaye Scott said there were no solid figures for this phase of the project yet, but the resolution states that Allison Platt and Associates would handle the design while The Wooten Co. was determined to be the best qualified to handle the engineering work.

Allison Platt did the design work for the Streetscape portion of the downtown master plan and the project's first phase.

The payment for the project would be replaced in the future by loan funds once financing has been arranged, Mrs. Scott said.

The design and engineering plans would be put together in advance of another request for proposals, likely this fall, for a construction company to actually perform the renovations.

The council previously discussed beginning construction of the project in January 2014.

Items on the council's consent agenda include:

* A resolution providing for the issuance of general obligation refunding bonds

* A budget ordinance amendment appropriating $4,000 from the Occupancy Tax Fund toward consultant work for a multi-sports complex

* A budget ordinance amendment appropriating $34,000 from the Main Street Solutions Grant toward the Arts Council of Wayne County

* An agreement to sell 407 S. William Street

* The acceptance of easement donations along Berkeley Boulevard for the road's widening project

* A rezoning request submitted by PIRHL Southeast for office and institutional property on West Lockahven Drive which would rezone the property to conditional district residential and allow for the building of an apartment complex

* A subdivision request for the Sandy Springs Subdivision

* The closing of the alley running from Evans Street to Clingman Street between Royall Avenue and First Street

* Site and landscape plans for a Goshen Medical Center office on the southwest corner of Adair Drive and U.S. 70 West

* Site and landscape plans for Trinity Child Care on the west side of Lee Drive between Ash Street and East Street

* Site plan modifications for the former Sportsman's World warehouse, where Franklin Bakery proposes adding more loading docks to utilize it as a warehouse

* A reimbursement resolution for the architectural planning and design of the new W.A. Foster Recreation Center whereby the city will enter a $47,543 contract with HH Architecture

* A resolution on behalf of Balfour Beatty Rail agreeing to provide a 2.5 percent match if the company is awarded the N.C. Building Reuse and Restoration Grant.

The meeting will begin with a work session at 5 p.m. at the City Hall Annex.