Strasburg gets more streetscape funds

Strasburg officials learned recently that the town received state money to help build the next phase of the Downtown Streetscape project.

Strasburg will try to put the next phase of the project out to bid in February, Town Manager Ryan Spitzer said Tuesday. Doing so would allow the town to start construction of the project in the next fiscal period that begins July 1, 2016, Spitzer said.

Almost a year has passed since Strasburg celebrated the completion of the first two phases of the project that brought improved sidewalks and other amenities along King Street, from Capon Street to Holliday Street. The town also replaced water and sewer lines along the same section.

The next phase calls for improvements to East King Street, from Holliday Street to Massanutten Street. Estimates put the cost at approximately $1.09 million. The town received $613,413 from the Virginia Department of Transportation as requested. Strasburg has $80,000 to put toward the 20 percent local match required by VDOT.

As Spitzer explained to Town Council recently, Strasburg should put $400,000 of the $613,000 toward the project this fiscal period and push forward the remaining $213,000 to fiscal 2017. The town also should plan to apply to VDOT for $500,000 in both fiscal 2017 and 2018. Spitzer pointed out that this approach differs from the original plan.

Phases III and IV are expected to cost $2.2 million with the town spending $440,000 and federal sources covering the remaining $1.76 million, according to information from Spitzer. The town has not applied for the funds necessary to proceed with phase IV.

The town had expected to use money leftover from the construction of the first phases to help fund the next phase. Unexpected cost overruns exhausted any leftover funds.

Previous phases cost $1.95 million, with the town spending $390,000 and $1.56 million coming from federal sources.

Given that a year has passed since the completion of the first phases, the town is now picking up the tab for maintenance costs. That includes maintaining the landscaping and trees as well as the concrete and brickwork along the path.

“We’re certainly looking at that and taking care of those maintenance issues as the project goes on into the future,” Spitzer said.

Since Spitzer started working for the town earlier this summer, contractors have not had to come back to fix any problems associated with the streetscape.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com