Town to create list of projects
A new police headquarters, parking garage and road improvements top Front Royal’s wish list of future projects for the town.
The Capital Improvement Program shows almost 30 items spread out across the next six years at a total estimated cost of $83 million. The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold the required public hearing on the program draft Wednesday. The commission then will forward its recommendations about the list to Town Council.
The list includes a police headquarters the town plans to build on 5.24 acres of land on the former Avtex Fibers superfund site at an estimated cost of $7.5 million. However, council has yet to award a contract to a firm that would design the facility and give the town a better idea of a project cost.
Council added a downtown parking facility to the list in February 2011 with an estimated cost of $27 million. The town has yet to budget money for it.
The program includes several major road projects such as the Leach Run Parkway, an east-west connector through 604 acres annexed from Warren County last year, a connection from Kerfoot Avenue to Kendrick Lane and reconstruction of Happy Creek Road. The program also includes smaller items, many of which are related to the Department of Environmental Services.
As with any capital improvement program, the document will serve as a planning tool for possible future spending on listed projects. The program that runs through fiscal 2021 includes estimated costs for some projects, but the document does not serve as a budget. The town appropriates money for projects in future fiscal budgets.
At a recent work session, council reviewed a draft of the program to give town officials input on the list. Finance Director Kim Gilkey-Breeden briefed council on the draft and asked members if they felt staff should add items to the list. The town needs to adopt the program this year and staff members want an approved list they can work with as officials begin to create the next fiscal year budget.
Councilwoman Bébhinn Egger recommended the town consider making streetscape improvements to South Street and add that to the program.
Councilman Bret Hrbek suggested the town add to the list an extension of Williams Street behind Leslie Fox Keyser Elementary School. Hrbek stated Monday in an email that Williams Street could possibly connect to Westminster Drive. Hrbek added that an extension would help increase accessibility to Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School and Warren County High School.
“I think neighborhood connectivity is important and a Williams Street extension should be a town priority,” Hrbek stated.
Councilman Eugene Tewalt pointed out that the list did not include a water loop project aimed at reducing the loss of distribution to a large part of town. Town officials have not yet determined how such a project would work. Potential routes provided by a contracted consulting firm have been determined not feasible. Gilkey-Breeden explained that the item could be added to the list. Tewalt said he wants the list to include the loop in the event that a developer pursues a project in town.
By placing the loop or any project on the Capital Improvement Program, Front Royal can collect money from a development to help pay for items on the list, Town Manager Steve Burke explained.
Town officials had, at one time, expected to use revenue from the Dominion power plant to pay for the loop project, Darr said. Now it appears the revenue will not cover the entire project cost so the water loop needs to be added, Darr said.
Councilman Daryl Funk said that “big projects, regardless of the monetary source, probably ought to be on” the program list.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org