By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- After starting big projects in 2011, Town Manager Steve Burke hopes 2012 will be the year for Front Royal to Ωfinish at least a couple of them.
"The town has worked well ... with the county and the Economic Development Authority to advance a number of projects that hopefully result in prosperity for the community," Burke said.
The town worked on the Leach Run Parkway project throughout 2011, and Burke said that in the near future he should be hearing from the Virginia Department of Transportation about its decision to help fund it. The parkway would connect Happy Creek Road and Va. 55.
Another accomplishment from 2011 was the completion of Happy Creek Road improvements, according to Burke.
"We've opened up that corridor and improved the safety of the roadway," he said.
The town has also worked closely with the Economic Development Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency toward approval to complete a connector road to the old Avtex site, said Burke. He said that major improvements were made to the sanitary sewer system as well.
A couple of meetings were held toward the end of the year between local businesses and town officials, and, according to Burke, significant headway was made in communication between the two groups. As a result of the meetings, the town code has seen updates.
The entities will continue to meet in 2012, and officials hope to include representatives from Warren County. Burke wants to see open communication between those involved "to foster expansion of existing businesses." The next meeting will either be in late January or early February.
Burke hopes to carry on with a number of capital projects in 2012, including a pavement management program. He also hopes that online payment of utility bills will be available in the spring, as security issues have been worked through.
Discussion will continue at Town Council meetings about the possible reorganization of town departments.
"The goal of the reorganization is to improve how we interact with the public and how we deliver services to them," Burke said.
"I'm grateful to the town staff who, day in and day out, do their best to make sure citizens have their needs met," he said. "Looking back, our town council has worked well to address issues and concerns raised by citizens and businesses alike, and they'll continue to work toward a joint goad of improving the community."