Council approves $747 million capital planPublished 11:31pm Thursday, February 21, 2013
City Council on Wednesday approved a $747 million spending plan that includes proposals for new schools, road projects, park facilities, fire trucks and more during the next 10 years.
Major projects to be funded this year include a Kenyon Road connector, a right-turn lane at the intersection of Nansemond Parkway and Wilroy Road, 911 equipment and tower upgrades, a renovation to the Market Street fire station, a master plan for a new downtown library and surrounding redevelopment, and more.
The first year of the plan — a total of $59 million in projects — will be proposed for funding as part of the upcoming budget process. Leaders hope to pay for about 45 percent of that with new debt.
Lorraine Yuriar was the sole speaker at a public hearing on the plan. She questioned the necessity of some of the projects, specifically an expansion of the Suffolk Seaboard Trail, which eventually is planned to be an 11.5-mile trail between downtown Suffolk and the Chesapeake city line, and the renovation of a military facility on Bennett’s Creek Park Road into a recreation center.
“There are some things that I question whether or not it’s actually worth putting the money into,” Yuriar said. She suggested the city use the money instead to fix drainage ditches or fund the school system.
“Push them off for a while, maybe, or cut them altogether and let’s put the money where we need to use it right now.”
The city hopes to acquire the former U.S. Army facility on Bennett’s Creek Park Road in a land swap. The new center would include a fitness room, multi-use spaces, game room and computer room. Athletic fields would be developed behind the building.
But the facility is a mere 700 feet from another recreation facility attached to Creekside Elementary School. Yuriar said that “doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” Parks and Recreation Director Lakita Watson instead said the two facilities would complement each other — the new building would not include a gymnasium like the other one, she said.
Yuriar also pointed out the city anticipates spending more than $400,000 annually on staffing, maintenance and utilities for the new facility.
As for the Seaboard Trail, Yuriar said it would be better to save the money. Annual maintenance there is slated at $25,000.
The city is receiving a $747,000 grant for that project and needs to put up $190,000 in local money to match it.
The approved Capital Improvements Plan is available at www.suffolkva.us. The public will have another opportunity to comment on it during the budget process.