By Sean Tubbs

Collectbritain

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Charlottesville’s director of neighborhood development services has given the

City Council

a glimpse into the city’s future during an update of several private developments and infrastructure projects.

Several stalled mixed-use developments appear to be moving forward, including the

Coal Tower

development between 10th Street Northeast and Carlton Road.

“They have received U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding and construction of 300 residential units will get under way after the first of the year,” said

Jim Tolbert

, the director of NDS.





Download Tolbert’s presentation to council






Construction of the Battle Building on West Main (Source: City of Charlottesville)

Tolbert said construction of the University of Virginia’s $141 million

Bill and Barry Battle Building

has already begun to transform West Main Street. The multistory building will house the UVa children’s hospital.

“We’ve had a lot of people in to talk about developing other properties on West Main,” Tolbert said.

A new mixed-unit development called The Station is to be located at the corner of 1st and Garrett Streets. It will have 25 housing units, a restaurant and several shops. The final site plan was approved in May 2009 but construction has not yet occurred.

“Their architect has done a good job of designing a building that works there,” Tolbert said. He added construction would begin soon.

A

new four-story mixed-use building on Water Street

across from the C&O restaurant is also moving forward.

“The plans are approved and we’ve heard they have an anchor tenant and are looking to start soon,” Tolbert said.

Councilors were also briefed on the status of various infrastructure projects being overseen by the Neighborhood Development Services.

Tolbert said the second phase to build the $30 million extension of

Hillsdale Drive

is moving ahead of schedule.

“We hope to have phase two [ready] to bid next spring,” Tolbert said.






Crews installing a new sidewalk on Meadowbrook Heights Road (Source: City of Charlottesville)

New sidewalks have recently been constructed on Brandywine Drive, at the Locust Avenue on-ramp to the U.S. 250 bypass, and Meadowbrook Heights Road.

“We’ve been doing an awful lot of sidewalk construction lately thanks to money council has given us,” Tolbert said. Council appropriated $300,000 for sidewalk construction this year.

This summer, work crews painted special markings called “sharrows” that tell motorists to share their lane with cyclists. They have been met with approval from members of Charlottesville’s biking community.

“Sharrows are a great way to communicate with both motorists and cyclists to let them know it’s legal, safe and expected for cyclists to ride in the traffic lane,” said Heather Higgins of the group

Bike Charlottesville

.

“We’re pleased the city is piloting them on Water Street and Alderman Road and look forward to hearing what the community thinks of them,” Higgins added.

Another project under way is an extension of sidewalks on St. Clair Avenue to provide a way for

Burnley-Moran Elementary

students to walk to school. This project, which is awaiting approval from VDOT, is being done through a grant from the federal

Safe Routes to School

program.

Tolbert also discussed future projects, such as one to add sidewalks and gutters to

Old Lynchburg Road

in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood. The city budget adopted by Council earlier this year set aside $3 million for the project, which is scheduled to be under construction sometime before the end of the fiscal year.

“The plans are 99 percent complete and we hope to bid that in the next sixty days,” Tolbert said.

Another major project underway is one to replace the bridge that crosses

Jefferson Park Avenue

Extended over a railroad track. Though the project is being administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation, city staff is helping coordinate impacts on the neighborhood.

“As with any change, the neighborhood has had to adjust and modify its familiar patterns,” said Adrienne Dent. She is a member of the

Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association

who is monitoring the project.

“The project has been an inconvenience for many neighbors [but] I believe [many] are generally satisfied with progress thus far,” Dent added.

VDOT hopes to have that project finished by September 2012.

Council also held the first reading to appropriate a $413,000 federal grant to build a pedestrian and bike bridge across the railroad tracks that bisect

McIntire Park

. The city will spend over $100,000 of local taxpayer money as a match.

“We will be designing it this fall and winter and getting public input,” said Chris Gensic, the city’s trails planner. He said the project will hopefully be completed by the summer of 2013.

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