Council to consider streetscape proposal, redevelopment ideas

Published 4:56 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

During its meeting Monday, Washington’s City Council is expected to discuss whether to accept a $50,000 grant for downtown redevelopment.

The grant, if accepted, would come from the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Development Division.

City staff has asked for council members to suggest projects to be funded, if the grant is accepted. One suggestion already made calls for earmarking $40,000 of the grant funding for the city’s facade-grant program, with emphasis on the rear facades of buildings that can be seen from Stewart Parkway. The remaining $10,000 would be used for landscaping in that area, according to a city document.

At the council’s Aug. 14 meeting, Mayor Mac Hodges said he would like some of the grant funding to be used to buy and install a sculpture (probably bronze) of George Washington seated on a park bench to the city’s downtown area. That would allow visitors and others to have photographic opportunities with one of the nation’s most historic figures, according to Hodges.

Councilman Doug Mercer wants to use at least part of the grant funding to reconfigure the intersection of Stewart Parkway, West Main Street and Gladden Street, something he wanted to do with money from a previous grant for downtown redevelopment. Reconfiguring that intersection would result in better traffic flow, said Mercer, adding he wants the city to at least look at that project for possible implementation.

In a related matter, the council is expected to consider approving master streetscape plan for downtown. Land Design developed the plan. The Washington Harbor District Alliance and the council have endorsed the plan.

On May 11, 2015, the council approved spending up to $29,600 for the plan. Prior to approving the money, the city had asked Land Design to submit a proposal to provide a master plan that would renew streetscape components in the downtown area associated with the possible upgrade of utilities in that area.

The city provided$25,000 for the plan, with the Washington Harbor District Alliance providing $4,600 for the plan.

At that 2015 meeting, Hodges said Land Design’s work in 2009 to help develop a downtown revitalization plan gave the Charlotte-based company a leg up when it came to seeking a firm to develop the streetscape master plan for the downtown area. “It’s an excellent product, and they did a good job,” Hodges said about the 2009 effort by LandDesign.

The plan, under the scope of services agreement between the city and Land Design, would cover the area along Main Street between north-south Bridge Street and north-south Bonner Street and from north-south Market Street between N.C. Highway 32 (Third Street) and the waterfront.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “City Agendas.” Locate the appropriate agenda (by date) under the “Washington City Council” heading, then click on that specific agenda listing.




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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