By MIKE WILLIAMS
The Town of Pulaski’s new skateboard park and basketball court on First Street S.E. have been a big hit with citizens so far.
That according to Pulaski Councilman Jamie Radcliffe, who said it appears users of the facility are taking good care of it.
Town Manager Darlene Burcham agreed.
“I have been super impressed and amazed that when the trash can is full – and it stays full a lot – people are still keeping the area clean. Because they’re putting the stuff beside the trash can for it to be picked up. So, it’s probably – knock on wood – the most litter free area that we have in town right now,” Burcham commented.
“So, it’s tremendous, the kind of loving care being given to that facility by the users really is very, very impressive.”
Across the creek, the town has razed the former Peak Creek Mercantile and has plans for a parking lot.
“We did demolish that building using town funds. The property is still in the ownership of the gentleman who owes significant amount of taxes to both the town and the county on that property,” Burcham explained.
She said once the site is leveled and ready for development, it will be reassessed by the county assessor.
“Then,” she said, “the town attorney will be proceeding to take the next steps that are necessary on the judicial path for us to actually obtain title to the property, and once the title comes to us, then we can make any improvements to the property itself.”
Burcham said currently the town is limiting any expense it has to just the actual demolition costs, which she said are about $63,000.
“It was actually three buildings that kind of were intertwined. I don’t think we’ll probably be able to put a parking lot on it until springtime, but we will hopefully be able to get control of the property between now and next spring.”
Radcliffe continued that comments about the town from citizens are that things “are looking good.”
He then asked about the old county jail building.
“We continue to advise the county that they are not in compliance with our codes,” Burcham responded. “The last conversation that I had with the County Administrator he indicated that they plan to demolish the building. I don’t know what the timeline is as it relates to that. I did ask him in the meantime to at least remove the vines off the building and to repair the roof which has been a constant code enforcement issue. They’ve been given a deadline to respond on those issues, or we’ll have to proceed with a summons.”
Mayor Shannon Collins had good to say about the town as well.
“I had the joy of giving some guided tours on Thursday to people from the Rural Virginia Leadership Academy. They were from all over the state, and they really loved our town. They liked what they saw, what we’re doing with the parks and things like that,” Collins said.
“I really think that we’re taking the right steps. We’re going forward. We can’t go back in time. That’s a definite. People would like to stay in the past, and it would be nice at times, but the rest of the world is not staying in the past and we’ve got to move forward. We’ve got the infrastructure still of our old buildings, and we’re lucky because we’re renovating those and I just want to say thank you for everything that we’ve been doing in the town,” Collins told Burcham.
“It was nice to hear people from outside of our town because there’s a lot of negative that happens from inside of our town which really frosts my shorts, but that’s what we’ve got to deal with. But when you have someone from outside your town and they come in and they’re saying what good things we’re actually doing … it’s getting there. But it was really good. And then we had good barbecue that night from our future barbecue restaurant that will be on Main Street, and it was really good,” Collins said.
“I will tell you that the Rural Virginia group went to St. Paul for a similar event. But I was told that they intended to return to Pulaski for two days next year. So that in and of itself, I think was very impressive,” Burcham said.
“Secondly, our charging station that’s been in place for a while is officially being used. We’ve had a number of people who have commented in a positive way about it being available. And again, it’s kind of the way of the future, you know, as more and more people are moving toward electric cars.
“And then we have those people that you just mentioned Mr. Mayor, who want to find something wrong with everything that we do. And so, we just have to keep looking ahead rather than looking behind, but it will be publicized in all of the companies’ manuals, or materials that do have electric cars so we do anticipate that in addition to our residents using it we will have visitors that will come into the area and use the charging system. It is a Level Two so it’s not as slow as some, but it’s not as fast as others and so we want to make sure people spend a couple of hours visiting our town when they do come.
“I want to also mention that we did open bids last week for the waterline replacement on West Main. We’re doing some value engineering because it did come in a couple of $100,000 more than we had anticipated. But that project is being funded through ARPA funds, so we may have to adjust some of the other projects in order to accommodate that additional request. But we are well on our way to getting that awarded in the next month so that we can get that started.
We will be having a meeting with the property owners on West Main so they understand the process that we will be going through. We will actually do kind of like a third of the street at a time in order to make sure that the businesses can stay open.