Lots of things happening in the Town of Pulaski

Lots of things happening in the Town of Pulaski

“Lots of balls in the air. Lots of things happening. It’s a good time to be in the town. An exciting time.”

-Darlene Burcham,

Pulaski Town Manager

By MIKE WILLIAMS

The Patriot

A lot of things are happening in Pulaski right now.

“I was just noticing when I drove downtown to work one day there were two separate construction sites on West Main and then the other site on Washington. I was thinking to myself, I can’t remember the last time there’s been that many different projects going on at once,” remarked councilman Michael Reis.

One project about to get underway is the installation of a charging station for electric vehicles.

Town Manager Darlene Burcham told council Tuesday the town had received a charging station it has purchased with ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) funds.

“We’ll be doing some work on First Street over the next several weeks to actually prepare the site by taking conduit to it. Then the company we purchased it from will come in and do the installation.

“We are thinking that will be something of interest not only to residents, but to visitors,” she said.

The charging station will be located at the first two parking spaces on First Street after you turn from Washington Avenue onto First Street across from the side of the post office.

Responding to a question by councilman Lane Penn, Burcham said you use a credit card to pay to use the charging station.

“There is a charge … no pun intended,” said Burcham. “That’s pretty typical of that.”

Burcham said the charging station should serve as one more thing to bring visitors to town.

Mayor Shannon Collins noted there is a “dead space” between Christiansburg and Wytheville where there currently are no charging stations.

Burcham told council people on East and West Main have been advised  that, beginning Aug. 1 the town will be doing parking enforcement of the two-hour parking.

“We’ve had enough business activity that people are complaining that they can’t find a place to park, so we will start doing enforcement,” she said.

Street striping is also planned. Burcham said the town is seeking bids for striping services to stripe streets that were recently paved as well as the basketball court on First Street and at Sixth Street Park where the former tennis court will become a pickle ball court.

On a side note, Burcham announced one of the sets of bleachers located at Jackson Park will be moved to the grassy area next to the skate park for parents and others to sit on.

She added that some “no parking” signs will have to be added in certain areas.  Thompson Tire, she noted, has said they will allow people to park on their gravel parking area while at the skate park.

“With the future demolition of the Peak Creek Mercantile building, I’m hoping that we’ll have some more parking on the East Main Street side that will help,” Burcham said, agreeing with some on council who spoke out about the popularity of the skate park.

She told council that the old skate park at Macgill had been closed and some of its ramp features sold on the GOVDeals.com website. She said town staff will be removing the rest of the old skatepark and erecting a gate to keep people out in the next couple of weeks.

Burcham told council the town will hold off on any additional lighting work until the upcoming West Main water line project is well underway.

“We’ll be redoing sidewalks, curb and gutter and the streetlights,” she said, as part of that project.

Burcham announced to council the town has received the report on the recent traffic study and the two-way traffic issue.

Council will receive the report soon for an advance look prior to a presentation on it at its Aug. 16 meeting.

“I’d like to move very quickly on some of the recommendations once we go through that report and if council is agreeable to those changes.”

Bids have been received on the Hardie sewer project, but – because of inflation – the amounts bid have come in over what was allocated for the project. Burcham said the town is currently talking with the Economic Development Authority about getting additional funding for the work and has made a request of James Hardie for additional funding as well.

She said town staff anticipates putting out to bid the West Main waterline project within the next 30 days.

Responding to a question from councilman Greg East, Burcham said the West Main project will begin with installation of new water lines.

“We’ll be tearing up the sidewalks to actually add the laterals to go to the different buildings and as soon as that’s done, we have the money from VDOT to actually do the paving of the road as well as curb, gutter and sidewalks, so I would say it’s going to be next spring,” Burcham said.

East asked about any possible design changes on how the street, sidewalks and gutters are re-installed.

“One of the things that we need to have you all [council] decide is keeping traffic one-way or making it two-way, and once that decision is made then we can look at design. That’s because one thing you’ll have to consider is parking and what style of parking you would have – the current style or the angled parking as some people have suggested,” Burcham said.

She added there are no pre-conceived notions that it necessarily should go back the way it is.

Burcham brought up the council’s monthly meeting schedule, which currently has council holding a legislative session early in the month and then a “work” session at mid-month.

The times for each meeting to start are different, she noted as well as one meeting has an invocation and Pledge of Allegiance while the second doesn’t.

Plus, the work session doesn’t include time for public comment.

“I haven’t operated that way. Your meetings have tended to have action items on every agenda, and I don’t anticipate that slowing down for a while.

“So I would like to suggest that you all consider having the same time for your meetings twice a month, and that they include the opportunity for public comment as well as the Pledge of Allegiance and the invocation,” Burcham said, noting that making start times and formats the same for both meetings would tend to be less confusing for citizens.

“I think you have to be consistent,” she said.

Council agreed and beginning with August, both council meetings will begin at 5:30 with a closed session and the open session starting at 7 p.m., complete with Pledge, invocation and public comment.

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