City seeks money for trails

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, October 16, 2008

City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to seek more funds for the development of the Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail and the Crittenden/Eclipse Village Multi-Use Trail.

Both of these projects are ongoing in the city and have received previous funding.

Following a public hearing – where no one spoke either in favor or against the idea – all seven council members voted to allow city staff to apply to the Virginia Department of Transportation for Transportation Enhancement Grant funds.


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These funds would help continue the development of the two projects, which according to city documents, are intended to enhance the well being of Suffolk citizens and to support the city’s ongoing efforts to design and construct walking/biking trails and sidewalks.

The Suffolk Seaboard Coastline Trail ultimately will wind from the downtown Suffolk area all the way to the city of Chesapeake, and has a proposed cost of $552,936.

The Crittenden/Eclipse Village Multi-Use Trail will cost nearly twice that amount, $1,049,900 and will give the village much-needed sidewalks.

In fact, the trail is the only initiative for the Crittenden/Eclipse Initiatives Plan.

“If you have ever been down Eclipse Drive, it’s a very narrow winding road, no provision for pedestrian access,” Scott Mills, director of planning for the city of Suffolk told Council last night, “and that was the one item that they saw a need for in that community.”

Councilman Joe Barlow asked Mills how much money had been allocated so far for the project, and Mills told him the city already has $497,000 for the trail, with more than $124, 000 in local matching grants.

Mills added that VDOT rarely gives all of the money requested at one time, but instead encourages repeated applications.

Council also voted unanimously to authorize issuing up to $18 million worth of bonds for proposed capital projects.

This decision does not mean Suffolk will borrow that much money, but it does allow the city to do so if necessary.

The money would go to pay for various projects, including school improvements, recreational improvements and village and neighborhood initiatives – all of which council would consider separately before deciding to borrow the money.

During the regular session, council also:

4Voted unanimously to amend the boundaries for the city’s enterprise zones. An enterprise zone is a partnership between the state and municipalities. The state provides incentives that encourage businesses to locate in more distressed areas of the city, in turn helping to spur growth and revitalization in those areas. Since 1990, Suffolk has had a maximum of 3,840 acres to deem as enterprise zones within the city. Enterprise zones expire after 20 years; Suffolk’s zones will be up next year. City officials wanted to maximize the zone space and made modifications to the boundaries, which needed Council’s approval before being submitted to the state.

4Voted 4-3 to give $3,000 to the InterCity Athletic Association. Councilmen Barlow, Jeff Gardy and Charles Parr voted against the motion.