Work will begin soon on some of the final projects aimed at renovating downtown Goldsboro.
The city applied in 2016 for a $5 million TIGER Grant, a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant from the Federal Transit Administration, that will be used to enhance the streetscape project.
The funds will be used on four major projects: Center Street Streetscape; the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority Transfer Center Concourse; the Hub (formerly known as Cornerstone Commons); and the Wayfinding Signage System Fabrication and Installation.
The city will request the official project appropriations, a formality, during the City Council meeting 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall.
A 20 percent local match was required for the $5 million grant, which includes a $1.5 million loan and $275,751 from the general fund, bringing the total to $6,755,751 for design and construction. There is also about $400,000 in contingency funds.
Julie Metz, Goldsboro downtown development director, said the grant and matching funds will support the extension of the Center Street Streetscape Project, which is the third and final two-block phase of the project from Spruce to Elm streets.
“It will be fairly much the same as the previous blocks we’ve done with the exception that that area, officially the 400 block, was intended at some point to be more residential in nature,” she said.
That means the sidewalks will not be quite as wide as the other sidewalks along Center Street. A grass buffer with trees will be between the sidewalk and curb, and there will be one lane of parallel parking on that curb side, Metz said.
The center median will be 54 feet wide, a little wider than the northbound median, and ornamental trees will be planted and a path installed in the middle of them, Metz said.
Both the Center Street extension and Hub projects were combined in the design and building process. The design process is 95 percent complete, Metz said.
Public Works will begin demolition of both project areas by the end of the month. Construction should start shortly after and take about 12 months to complete, she said.
“So next May hopefully we’ll be ready for Center Street Jam to be held in the new Hub,” Metz said.
The grant will also support the demolition of Cornerstone Commons at the intersection of Chestnut and South Center streets, about 12,000 square feet of paved or bricked space with a raised stage, planters and trees.
After demolition, the area will be rebuilt with the intention being an extension of the street. Different pavers and amenities will be installed to enhance the space that will include public restrooms, a covered shelter that can also be used as a stage, information kiosk, lighting, a splash playground, seating, tables, a fireplace and a wall to honor past Cornerstone Award winners, Metz said.
The next project is implementing a wayfinding sign system throughout the Greater Metropolitan Goldsboro Area. A study was conducted in 2000-2014 with grant funds to come up with a design of the signs that the public helped select, Metz said.
Metz will ask City Council members Monday to authorize a contract with Sign Art, of Charlotte, the low bidder, to fabricate the signs.
The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority Transfer Center Concourse will be the final project supported by the TIGER Grant. It’s basically a shelter for on-boarding and off-boarding passengers and should be completed in March 2020-21, Metz said.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Metz said. “I’m real excited about it. The economic impact has been huge.”
Since the renovations started in 2013, the city has spent about $12 million, and the private sector has spent $17 million on properties and new businesses, Metz said. The projects have spurred 48 new businesses, 51 new property acquisitions and more projects, Metz said.
“Since 2013, we have added more than 140,000 square feet of building space back into production of once vacant buildings, and the private sector has responded by contributing approximately $19,523,148 into downtown with investments,” Metz said in an email.
The total public investment downtown has been $23,741,874 since 2012-13 The city contributed $8,967,324 of that, of which $557,503 of those funds were used to maintain city owned and operated facilities downtown, including City Hall, the Fire/Police Complex and the Paramount Theatre. So, the actual investment in downtown was $8,409,821, Metz said.
Other public investments downtown include federal and state grants and county investments in their downtown owned and operated buildings which totaled to $14,335,432 over the same period. Thus, the private sector has matched the city’s investment two to one, Metz said.
The renovations also led to creation of 211 new jobs, she said.