By MIKE WILLIAMS
As the West Main Waterline Project in Downtown Pulaski begins to wind down, thoughts now turn to the next project – the Streetscape.
At last week’s meeting of Town Council, Town Manager Darlene Burcham reminded council the Streetscape project involves the replacement of curb, gutter and sidewalk in the downtown area.
“This is a project that is being funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation,” Burcham said. “We actually received two grants [totaling more than $1 million], one for Main Street North [the north side of the street] and one for Main Street South [the other side]. The engineer was put under contract back in February of last year. The design was completed last August. But we’re still dealing with VDOT in terms of their review,” she said, noting the review is said to be 90 percent complete.
“But because there are federal dollars involved, we have to have both a state review and a federal review,” Burcham added.
“We do intend to open up West Main as soon as the water main is complete,” Burcham said. When opened, the downtown portion of Main Street will be gravel at first.
“And then as soon as we have the go-ahead, we will start the construction of the streetscape – first on one side of the street and then when that’s complete the other side, and not pave the street until that work is done.
“So, it is going to be another stretch of time and based upon contracts and how much money we have available. But all of these things are necessary and will be done to make sure that we have kept our commitment to the council and to the community that these activities are done and that they are done with as little financial commitment as possible from the town.
“We’re constantly looking for financial resources to help,” Burcham said.
On another front, Burcham told council an application for funding from the U.S. House Appropriations Committee had been submitted.
“You adopted a resolution in support of an application that we were going to send to the House Appropriations Committee to have several waterlines replaced and, at that time, we had three that we had nominated,” Burcham recalled.
“I’m pleased to report that that application has gone forward as a county application, which will provide funding if approved for one water main replacement in Dublin and two in the Town of Pulaski. We were one of 15 applications that Congressman [Morgan] Griffith forwarded and that’s the maximum number that I guess each Congressman was allowed to submit. So, we’re very hopeful” for approval.
Burcham explained that the final application was submitted without requested funding for a water main replacement on Fifth Street in Pulaski.
“But we will be getting at least in the combination county application the lion’s share of the money, and I do want to publicly express my appreciation to County Administrator Jonathan Sweet who worked with the congressman’s office to put this combination application together so that we were not competing as two towns within the county. So, we’ll keep our fingers crossed on that,” she said.
On the recreation front, Burcham updated council on the planned new pickle ball courts at Sixth Street park.
“There have been some questions because of the length of time again, that it has taken for us to actually establish the new set of pickleball courts that are going to be going in on Sixth Street to replace the aging and in disrepair tennis courts. We’ve been told that, again – based upon timing and other contracts that are already out there – it will be complete no later than the first of July. And at that same time that contractor will also do the striping on our new basketball courts that are located on First Street,” Burcham said.
“There’s lots going on in the community a lot of things that I wish I could wave a magic wand and they could go faster, but we’re making progress and I think we just have to keep moving forward,” she said.