Counties, towns expect busy year for projects
Local governments across the region will keep busy this year with small and major projects and initiatives costing millions of dollars.
Warren County officials expect to move forward on nearly a dozen projects this year, including the second middle school planned in the area of the proposed Leach Run Parkway.
Construction of the long-awaited parkway in Front Royal should begin this spring, County Administrator Douglas Stanley said. The road is designed to connect Happy Creek to John Marshall Highway in the northeast area of town. The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority is spearheading this project.
The federally funded Morgan Ford Bridge replacement project likely will go out to bid later this year after the Virginia Department of Transportation reviews comments made by the public about the project design, Stanley said. The agency will need to approve the design, acquire land for the project and award a contract before the department can move forward.
The first phase of the Rockland Park project on the former Fishnet property is to be completed this spring. The phase calls for the construction of a new access road into the park site, a playground, a disc golf course and a picnic shelter. Work on this phase of the long-range project began last year. The county likely could hold a ribbon-cutting event in April, Stanley said.
Stanley said he expects workers to complete an expansion of the Skyline Soccerplex this spring. Renovations to the former 15th Street Middle School building and parking lot, to create a new Health and Human Services Complex, should be completed this fall, Stanley said. Contractors are working to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system as well as the flat roof for the Warren County Courthouse.
The Virginia Department of Transportation continues its work in Warren County to replace the U.S. 340-522 bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and the crossing over Gooney Creek.
Other road projects include improvements to Old Oak Lane and Homestead Drive, a traffic signal at the U.S. 340-522 North commuter lot and the Myers Drive recreational access route to the boat landing off Farms Riverview.
Front Royal must upgrade its wastewater treatment plant and work on the $53.3 million project is likely to begin this year, Town Manager Steve Burke said. Town Council has awarded a contract in November to Adams Robinson Enterprises of Dayton, Ohio.
Also this year, Burke said the town will be working on improvements to the water treatment plant and the drinking water distribution system.
The town also is looking forward to working with the Economic Development Authority on a proposal to extend Main Street into the former Avtex Fibers site, Burke said. Town Council and staff are still working on finding a firm to design a new police department headquarters.
Shenandoah County can expect to make strides on several major initiatives this year and the Capital Improvement Program shows more than $3.72 million worth of projects slated for the coming fiscal year beginning July 1. The program serves as a planning document, but funding for any project must come from the fiscal budget adopted each spring by the Board of Supervisors.
The county must expand its landfill near Edinburg in order to extend the facility’s useful life. The third phase of the expansion is expected to cost $1.5 million in fiscal 2016, according to the capital program. In addition, work will continue on the landfill’s gas collection and control systems. Methane and other gases created by the refuse as it breaks down seep out of the landfill and can infiltrate the groundwater. The county installed a system to collect and burn off the gas to comply with its state-issued permit.
Efforts to find an architect to design a new headquarters for the Sheriff’s Office are underway. The agency is planning to build a new home on property on North Main Street in Woodstock at an estimated cost of $6 million. The sheriff plans to cover the project cost with asset forfeiture funds – money awarded to the department when it works with federal law enforcement agencies on joint investigations.
Other projects the county could begin in the next fiscal year include:
• Repairs to the burn building used by the Department of Fire and Rescue for training, with 65 percent of the cost covered by the Virginia Department of Fire Programs;
• Carpet replacement in the government administration building and the county library building;
• Installation of ultraviolet light disinfection equipment at the North Fork Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The county operates two sanitary districts and the capital program lists seven projects for fiscal 2016 totaling $484,950. Projects range from fixing manholes to replacing a pump station in the Toms Brook-Maurertown Sanitary District.
Acting Town Manager Jay McKinley said he expects Strasburg to remain busy throughout the year. Construction on the upgrades to the town’s wastewater treatment plant continues as Strasburg expands the facility to not only plan for the future but also to meet state and federal regulations.
The town also is moving forward on its plans to construct a new building for the Department of Public Works. The town purchased land in the recently annexed area of Shenandoah County that includes the North Shenandoah Industrial and Business Park. McKinley said the hope is to complete the department building by April 2016.
Town Council pursued the building project through the Virginia Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 in conjunction with the wastewater treatment plant upgrade. The town accepted a proposal from Wendell Construction and English Construction to design and build both the upgrades and the department building. The design for the department building is about 30 percent completed, McKinley said. But work continues to move apace.
“We’re pretty excited because, right now, that department’s been displaced and [has] been working out of less-than-ideal conditions, so we’re really looking forward to getting them into a facility where they can be more efficient,” McKinley said.
Strasburg also plans to build a trail along North Massanutten Street and Old Valley Pike (U.S. 11), from downtown to the Food Lion shopping center. A steering committee is working on the trail’s design. McKinley said he expects the town to complete the design and put the project out to bid by the end of the year. Construction likely would take five to six months after the town awards the contract, McKinley said.
Work on the Downtown Streetscape enhancement project continues this year as town officials await confirmation that Strasburg will receive grant funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation for the next phase that extends along King Street from Holliday Street to Massanutten Street. As they did for the first two phases, town workers would make repairs and improvements to underground utilities before making the above ground enhancements. McKinley said he hopes to see construction on this phase begin later this year.
Kimberly Murray ,Strasburg’s economic development and planning manager, said the town will apply in March for funds through the state aimed at revitalizing the downtown area. Such funds, if awarded, could go toward the effort to improve the town’s parking area off Washington Street and to develop the vacant land behind the former Brill grocery store on King Street as well as to create a facade improvement program. Murray said the town might learn the results of the application in June.
VDOT is expected to replace the Queen Street bridge this year, McKinley said.
Strasburg officials also are in the process of finding a new town manager to replace Judson Rex, who left in early January for a job in Denison, Texas.
The town has a few projects in the works, one of which it began last year. Woodstock is upgrading its water distribution system and to make the North Street tank more “interactive.” Water lines are being added to the system in the north end of town. When the main tank on Ox Road is taken out of use for maintenance, the town uses the North Street tank to supply water in the interim. But water doesn’t move out of the North Street tank as well as desired, Town Manager Reid Wodicka said. The town has about 1,000 feet of pipe to install, he noted. Crews will be connecting new lines to the back side of the Sunset Crest subdivision.
As time and resources become available, Wodicka foresees town staff continuing work on the old Woodstock School on Court Street. The town would need to contract out the roofing repair work, he said. Crews have removed some of the partitions from the inside of the building that were added when the county school system used the facility for its administrative offices.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org