Suggestion made to use grant funds in city’s downtown

Published 5:21 pm Saturday, August 20, 2016

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, is scheduled to review a suggestion on how to spend $94,340 in grant funds.

The funding is from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Rural Economic Development. The council has indicated it wants that money to be spent improving the streetscape of the city’s central business district. To that end, City Manager Bobby Roberson met with representatives of several groups — Arts of the Pamlico, Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, Washington Tourism Development Authority — and city staff to develop a plan on how to spend the funds.

The group recommends providing $10,000 to Arts of the Pamlico, $30,000 for the city’ façade-improvement program for downtown and $54,340 for streetscape, park improvements and possible Wi-Fi connections downtown, according to a city document. All design aspects of such projects would be approved by the City Council and the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

The group’s discussion focused on several proposals, including the following:

• introduction if “art” into the central business district;

• additional funding for the façade program;

• introducing a water fountain (not a drinking fountain) into downtown;

• explore Wi-Fi capabilities downtown;

• improve existing planters along streets;

• improve entrance to Stewart Parkway, specifically Underground Railroad Museum and Civic Center area facing West Main Street, the area west of Sloan Insurance and the Crab Park area next to the former Havens Mill property.

The city has until Sept. 1 to submit a document outlining proposed projects. By Oct. 1, the Commerce Department will issue contracts to the municipal governments selected to receive the grant funding. Upon receipt of a signed contract, the department will issue a check for the full amount of the grant awarded. By March 31, 2017, grant recipients must submit a report on how the grant funding was spent and the outcome of the projects.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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