Woodstock improvements plan moves forward

The town of Woodstock is moving closer to adopting its Capital Improvements Plan for 2016-2022.

Town Planning Commission decided to recommend that council adopt the plan following its meeting on Tuesday night.

The draft of the plan contains numerous projects in various areas that would make a little more than $9.3 million in improvements over that seven-year span.

Keith Lantz, Town Planning and Zoning Administrator, said, “We’re happy to recommend it because it’s just going to be good for the town. It gives us a structured way of looking at improvements.”

Town Manager Reid Wodicka noted that the plan is the first to combine one of its strategic plans with the town’s financial planning.

Financially, the goal with the improvements plan is to pay for the projects with as little impact to the taxpayers as possible, Wodicka said.

“We have a couple of different funding sources, whether it be loans, pay-as-you-go … and system development charges, which a lot of people call connection fees,” Wodicka said.

Although the plan is project-based, Wodicka said, “The more important part of it is the financial plan, how this is all going to be funded and doing so in, hopefully, a responsible way.”

The plan calls for numerous long-ranging projects — such as renovations to the Old Woodstock School — and short-ranging projects to make these improvements in areas including transportation and infrastructure.

For example, the town is working toward making improvements to its wastewater treatment facility, such as the plant’s processing equipment.

“Our water will be much cleaner and without the chlorine,” Lantz said, adding that the plant will have upgraded filtration technology that will allow the town to treat the water without the use of chemicals.

At the June meeting of the Water and Sewer Committee, the town interviewed two firms for the project — Charlottesville-based WW Associates and Christiansburg-based Peed and Bortz LLC.

One of the firms will be selected to design the improvements to the treatment plant. Wodicka said that council will vote to select a firm at its July 7 meeting.

“We are in the process of negotiating with one firm for that process,” Wodicka said, adding they hope to have an agreement in place by the July 7 meeting.

Another part of the plan deals with the development of green space, or pocket parks, in neighborhoods within town limits.

“The goal is to have a nice, maintained green space of different programming in basically every neighborhood,” Wodicka said, noting that the use of each park could vary “depending on the needs of the neighborhood.”

Wodicka added, “The town also has ideas for trails throughout the town to increase pedestrian access as well as bike and pet activities.”

In addition, Wodicka discussed one larger transportation project that the town is looking to plan for the Ox Road corridor.

“Ox Road is right up next to the fairgrounds and it’s very heavily used, but … doesn’t have the facilities that it probably needs,” Wodicka said. “It’s narrow and it doesn’t have any pedestrian facilities.

“There’s a lot of people who walk along it and it has a lot of traffic. We’ll be taking that into account as we sort of plan.”

Moving forward, the town’s finance committee will discuss the plan during a meeting in July.

“Assuming that they are ready to move forward, then it would be in August when the town council would be ready to consider it,” Wodicka said.

“Council, planning commission as well as staff have put in an extensive amount of work into making sure that this is a reasonable and well thought-out plan.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com