09/04/13 — $10M coming for city projects

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$10M coming for city projects

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on September 4, 2013 1:46 PM

Goldsboro is one step closer to a new train station, a new bus transfer site and more renovations downtown.

The air was electric at the Goldsboro City Council work session Tuesday night as it was officially announced the city will receive $10 million in United States Department of Transportation TIGER 2013 grant funding.

Although the details of the grant are still fuzzy and no award papers have been signed, the grant was announced through a press release from U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield's office on Tuesday morning.

The project submitted by the city asked for $15.1 million in funding to complete two blocks of Streetscape, to complete the renovations on Goldsboro Union Station and to construct a GATEWAY bus transfer station next to Union Station.

City Manager Scott Stevens said it is not clear if the USDOT has specific plans for the funding, designating which projects will be completed.

The $10 million made available, which Stevens expects to match with $3 million to $4 million, would allow for the construction of the bus transfer facility and the next phases of Streetscape and possibly site work for the train station.

Butterfield paid a personal visit to Goldsboro to deliver the news of the grant to city officials Tuesday, Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation Director Julie Metz said.

"We're not sure if it is $10 million or $12 million with the match. Until we know more, we'll just be happy knowing we're getting around $10 million (for) projects we've been going for for six to eight years," Ms. Metz said.

Mayor Al King expressed his gratitude to Butterfield for bringing former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to Goldsboro and for supporting the project.

"I was told it was the best written grant (the grant readers) had seen and these are people who do this kind of thing saying that," King said. "I felt we had a good project, I felt better about this project than any other project. But it's like Yogi Berra said, 'It's not over until it's over," but hopefully this is over."

In other business, the City Council voted to table a decision on whether to approve a hookah lounge and coffee shop at the former Kwik Stop Food Store location on Ash Street.

The motion was brought by Councilman Bill Broadaway who wanted to better understand the effect the businesses have in other areas as well as how area residents feel about the establishment.

The proposed lounge would be in Broadaway's district.

A hookah is a waterpipe used for smoking flavored tobacco called shisha.

Council approved the operation of an Internet sweepstakes cafe at the former Teasers location off U.S. 117 South.

The cafe will be operated by the same owners of the bingo parlor currently operating on the site and is subject to a privilege tax and police inspection to verify the software is compliant to North Carolina law.

Also approved Tuesday night during the City Council meeting were two requests for cemetery site plan renewals.

The council approved a referral of the Busco Beach re-zoning back to the Planning Commission to allow the commission another month to deliberate with Smart Investors' legal representation and Bryan Boulevard residents.

The decision had to be referred to the commission by council because of the deadline demanding action 90 days after a public hearing is held on an issue.

The commission has been working with the management of Busco Beach and Bryan Boulevard residents to come up with a compromise that is beneficial for all involved.