Greenville

Project to widen Fire Tower, Portertown roads can move ahead

A planned N.C. Department of Transportation project to widen and improve Fire Tower and Portertown roads can move ahead after the Greenville City Council issued a resolution in support of the project.

The City Council voted unanimously during its meeting on Thursday to approve a resolution of support for the project, which will widen the roads to four 11-foot-wide lanes from Charles Boulevard to Portertown and from Portertown to 10th Street N.C. 33 East). The project also will reconfigure several major intersections to reduce traffic congestion along the corridor.

The project is expected to take as many as 20 properties and affect more residential properties, NCDOT engineer Bill Kincannon said during Thursday’s meeting. Property aquisitions are expected to begin in June, he said, and construction is scheduled to begin in late 2019.

“We expect that construction will take about three years,” Kincannon said.

Kincannon said the plan also includes bicycle lanes and pedestrian improvements along the project’s corridor.

The NCDOT has hosted several public input meetings and has altered the plan several times to address concerns from residents and area stakeholders. Kincannon presented the NCDOT’s final recommendation to the City Council during Thursday’s meeting and council members issued the resolution of support for the project’s design plan.

“This is our best and final offer on this,” he said. “This design is the best we can do.”

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the City Council unanimously approved a schematic design for the upcoming Westpointe Village Park. Recreation and Parks Director Gary Fenton and Park Planner Lemarco Morrison presented the proposed master plan for the park during Thursday’s meeting.

On June 16, 2016, the City Council approved funding for the purchase of land and the development of a new park on the west side of Greenville. Fenton said the area had been identified as being in need of a recreational park or facility.

“These areas are referred to as ‘park poor,'” Fenton said. “Some residents have to travel five miles to get to their nearest park.”

The purchase was included in the city’s 2016-17 fiscal year budget. The city executed an Offer to Purchase Agreement with Westpointe Properties LLC in November 2016 for the purchase of six acres near the Westpointe subdivision for about $228,000.

The playground purchase and installation will be the next phase in the development of the park. In March, staff began the planning process for the park’s development and met with area residents and stakeholders to establish the appropriate design elements and master plan recommendations. Based on feedback from the  meeting, city staff developed three conceptual design alternatives, which were presented at a second public input meeting on July 26.

Morrison said attendees at the meetings asked the city to condider park elements that included a paved walking trail, an off-leash dog park, sheltered picnic tables, basketball courts and a community garden.

Staff completed the schematic design last month, and the design will be used as a guide for future phases of park development and as the basis for submitting Capital Improvement funding requests.

Morrison said the price to complete all phases of the park’s development will be about $1.06 million.

Mayor Kandie Smith expressed approval of the park’s design during Thursday’s meeting.

“We are really excited about this,” Smith said. “A lot of work went into these plans.”

The City Council is scheduled to meet again at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall The meeting will include a comment period. Go to www.greenvillenc.gov to view an agenda for Monday’s meeting.

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