Huge news from the City Council meeting earlier tonight! The City has a surplus of $6.7 million and tonight $600,000 was proposed to go to the Northend Greenway (half the overall cost of the project) and $443,000 to the Bluestone Trail (enough to complete Phase 1, the Greenway’s sister trail to the south). That’s over $1 million to safer walking and bicycling paths in Harrisonburg.
This big funding milestone is close at hand because of the strong vocal support of greenway and trail supporters. It’s because of you. But we’re not there yet.
What does this mean?
Council has proposed to direct the funds to the Northend Greenway from its surplus, but it’s not a done deal yet. What this means for the project itself? It’s still unclear if we will be able to use these funds to complete the design and engineering, or if the funds will be held for construction. Either way, with a project budget of $1.3 million, it is clear that $600k is only half. We’ll need to come up with the rest.
What do we do now?
- Pack the Public Hearing on Tuesday, October 23, 7:00pm at Council Chambers.
- Can’t wait? Email City Council members to personally let them know that you, your business or org support funding the Northend Greenway.
- Donate now and send the message that we’re ready to match their investment to break ground by next year.
Are you social?
Share this news using the buttons below and, if you’re on Facebook, vote YES to Councilman Degner’s bicycling funding survey.
While we wait on the release of the official info and numbers, here is a breakdown of the surplus spending proposal from Deb Fitzgerald, Planning Commission member (via Facebook):
1) Some relief for our uber-efficient and productive City staff. They’ll get a $750,000 year-end bonus. (As a Planning Commissioner who knows first-hand how hard the community development folks work, I think this is great news.)
2) Infrastructure spending, that gorgeous, beautiful, and essential investment that produces civic institutions in the ‘Burg that are so valuable that people want to live and work and stay here forever. The tentative numbers at the moment:
• $2.5 million counts as our match for grants for Reservoir ($1 mill), Carleton/Resevoir Street Intersection ($750K) and Chicago Avenue/Mt. Clinton ($750K) road projects
• $175,00 goes for the balance needed to complete Streetscape Phase 2
• $200,000 goes for 2 new soccer fields at Smithland (Ramblewood fields are coming off line, so this is very timely)
• And – maybe best of all – the balance of $1,043,000 goes for bike and pedestrian infrastructure. $200,000 is a grant match for Bluestone Trails, plus $243,000, the exact amount left over needed to complete Phase 1 of that project. And the $600,000 balance goes into a new capital fund for Northend Greenway (this is roughly half the cost of phase I of the Greenway project).
Plus, we add a chunk to the rainy day, fund, too.
And let me let out my inner economist just for a sentence to go to the data to put the size of this surplus into perspective: this ranks right in the middle (size-wise) of the last 8 surpluses. 3 were larger, the rest were smaller, all in the recent past.
Public hearing in 2 weeks – that’s October 23- let’s show our support for this!
Watch streaming video from tonight’s council meeting. (Note: surplus discussion occurs in last 10 minutes.)