Monday, July 13, 2009

Council Shakes the Magic 8-Ball for Capital Improvement Project Priorities

Washington Park Aquatics Option3

Washington Park Aquatics Option3

Related article: Options Floated for Washington Park Pool

Just when you think Council has made a decision they will stick to, the cards get reshuffled and we cut the deck again.

The only thing secure now is the Market Building. See below the split on the other CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) at the June 6 Council briefing.

According to The Roanoke Times there have been some email Council meetings going on following the June 6 public Council briefing vote. Vice-Mayor Sherman was forcefully lobbing to turn the Washington Park Pool into a Regional Aquatics Center.  Councilman Dave Trinkle was not convinced by the attendance and revenue projections presented by Parks and Recreation Director Steve Boucher. Lea lamented on the public perception that Council is not decisive. Lea’s lobbing failed on a vote of 4-3.

I guess now we can take Lea’s comment about indecision to the bank. Having attended the briefing there was an air of finality to the CIP discussions. Presentations on the CIP have been progressing during and since the budget process.

As painful as it was to watch Council struggle through the budget process (each member having pet projects they wanted fully funded) the CIP decision was a cakewalk though all were not in agreement.

Let us shake The Magic 8Ball one more time and see what pops up.

Perhaps the bleak revenue forecast presented to Council by the Finance Director, Ann Shawver at Monday’s Council meeting has given them pause.

Roanoke City’s “Rainy Day Fund” May Get a Dip with Worsening Economy

Or perhaps there is a little of “if you give me this I’ll give you that” going on – I thought this Council was going to “open the door” and include the public. What happened to that?

The standard Magic 8-Ball answers:

As I see it, yes
It is certain
It is decidedly so
Most likely
Outlook good
Signs point to yes
Without a doubt
Yes – definitely
You may rely on it
Reply hazy, try again
Ask again later
Better not tell you now
Cannot predict now
Concentrate and ask again
Don’t count on it
My reply is no
My sources say no
Outlook not so good
Very doubtful


Previous recap of Monday’s CIP decision:

It is no surprise that the Market building renovation took top spot on the capital improvement project list at the Roanoke City Council briefing Monday morning. Unanimously Council adopted a resolution to direct City Administration to proceed with $700,000 engineering plans for the building and streetscape. The total runs a nice round $7 million. That is where consensus among Council members ended however.

Councilman Rupert Cutler and Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea had as priority “No. 2” the Washington Park Aquatic Center. Mayor David Bowers had it at “No. 4” and would rather see the amphitheater construction moved up from year 2013. Councilman Dave Trinkle had it at “No. 3.” Trinkle “was not convinced on the revenue projections.”

Countryside Golf Course did not make the radar screen except for Mayor Bowers and Councilwoman Anita Price. They had it at priority “No. 2.” It’s sort of in the works now. A gopher guards $2 million for an irrigation system and cart paths unless  Council pulls a Mulligan and chips it to another project.

The amphitheater came in at priority “No. 3” for Cutler, Lea, and Bowers. Price and Rosen clearly articulated that the amphitheater is a low priority. Councilwoman Gwen Mason wanted to “get back to basics” followed by an extensive discussion on bridge renovation. Trinkle an amphitheater proponent for many years was willing to wait for construction in 2013. The  $1.2 million design in 2010 went forward on a vote of 6 -1 with Price voting “no.” Demolition to the armory on Reserve Avenue will move forward in late winter or early spring.

Price was instrumental in blocking moving forward with the $3.6 million Washington Park Aquatic Center until public hearings could be held that would include the surrounding neighborhoods. The four “no” votes included Price, Bowers, Rosen, and Mason. Evelyn Bethel and Helen Davis praised the decision. They had been part of a committee in 2002 to study uses for Washington Park and were never given the opportunity to present their recommendations to City Council. Primarily they wanted to retain it historically.

The Countryside Golf Course “closed session” on the 3 proposals for 10-year management resulted in questions to be answered by one proposer according to Assistant City Manager, Brian Townsend. The answers would then be presented to Council in another “closed session” at the July 20 Council meeting. Townsend expects that a contract award would be sometime in August or September. The current lease to Meadowbrook ends in October of this year.

Fly through the Market Building in this VIDEO CLICK HERE.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (1)

The Pamphleteer

July 13th, 2009 at 2:15 PM    

The Vice Mayor has a great idea
in creating a waterpark inside the city.

The only problem?
He didn’t request it be planted
amid the unfinished Babylon
of parking garages
in South Roanoke’s
Carilion park.

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