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Planners approve capital plan

Suffolk’s Planning Commission unanimously approved the city’s proposed Capital Improvements Program and Plan at its Jan. 15 meeting.

The plan provides a 10-year outline for city spending on major capital projects. This plan is renewed yearly.

The proposed 10-year total for the CIP has increased by $66.1 million from last year’s, for a total of $963.6 million for the entire plan. There was also an 11-percent hike in the first five years of the plan compared to last year’s adopted CIP.

The first five years are proposed to cost $316.4 million, and almost half of the general government expenditures will be on transportation projects. The remainder of the funding is split among public schools, public buildings and facilities, public safety, parks and recreation and village and neighborhood improvements.

The first year of the general government spending will consist of $50.8 million in the six categories, and almost half of the expenditures will be funded by state and federal grants.

The city will fund a bulk of the cost through debt, with the rest coming from state grants, federal grants and the city’s general fund.

Some of the biggest-ticket items include a new central library, the replacement of John F. Kennedy Middle School and large roadway projects.

Suffolk Public Schools submits its own Capital Improvements Plan, and it included a replacement for John F. Kennedy Middle. The first part of funding the replacement, about $10 million, is programmed for the fifth year of the plan. An additional $35 million is planned in later years.

Other public school projects included the addition of 12 classrooms to alleviate school crowding at Northern Shores Elementary School. The project will cost $6.3 million total with only $1 million coming in the second year of the CIP and the remained coming in the third year.

Public safety has multiple projects addressed on the plan, two of which would be new fire stations in the city.

The College Drive Fire Station would be a three bay fire station that will serve the Harbour View and North Suffolk area. The project is planned to cost a total of $7.5 million, with $2.5 million coming in the first year.

The second new fire station proposed in the plan would cost $4.5 million and serve areas along Nansemond Parkway and Wilroy Road.

The projects requiring the most funding will be roadway improvements, but only 24 percent of transportation projects will be funded with local dollars.

The plan lays out $55 million for the Local Urban Roadway Construction Comp Plan, which is meant to improve urban roadways in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

Holland Road will be a main feature of the plan, and it will receive $25 million in funding, with all of the funding coming from federal sources. The remainder of the money, $30 million, will be designated to future projects not yet determined.

Other transportation projects include intersection updates to Nansemond Parkway and Bennetts Pasture Road for $3 million, Route 17 and Crittenden Road for $3.9 million and Pitchkettle Road improvements for $7.6 improvements.

As previously approved by City Council, the Downtown Implementation Plan Initiative is on the CIP for the first five years for $3.4 million. The money will be spread over the five years, steadily increasing until year five.

Now that the plan has been approved, City Council will view it at a future meeting.