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City Council decides not to close Berry Avenue

Washington’s City Council, during its June 11 meeting, decided against adopting a resolution of intent to close a section of Berry Avenue.

At its April 9 meeting the council unanimously voted to not close the section of Berry Avenue between West Fifth and Harrington streets. Last week, if the council had adopted a resolution of intent to close that section of Berry Avenue between West Fifth Street and Harrington Street, it would have been required by state law to conduct a public hearing on the matter.

The city’s Planning Board recommended closing that section. The issue came back to the council last week because Brad Horton, owner of Athletic Edge Sports and Fitness, wanted the council to rethink its decision. Horton sought the closure so he could expand Athletic Edge to better serve its 700 members.

At the April 9 meeting, Jim Gardiner, general manager of Compmillennia, which builds highly technical advanced composition vessels, objected to closing Berry Avenue, saying that closing the unpaved street would hinder his plans to expand the boat-building facility. The northern-most section of Berry Avenue is at the rear of the Compmillennia complex at the intersection of Hackney Avenue and Harrington Street.

Last week, Gardiner told the council Horton’s request for the council to reconsider the matter was not filed by the deadline to do so. Gardiner asked the council to reject Horton’s request. Horton did not speak at the meeting.

At the April 9 meeting, Gardiner said closing that section of Berry Avenue would benefit Horton alone and cause hardship for area residents who use Berry Avenue to access Fifth Street. Gardiner said closing the street likely would result in truck traffic leaving Compmillennia having to travel through a residential area to access Fifth Street.

There are no residences on Berry Avenue from Fifth Street to Harrington Street. Gardiner presented a petition of neighboring property owners who objected to closing the street section.

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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