Speak up for capital projects

Published 5:58 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2019

If you have interest in any capital projects the city is considering, Jan. 21 and Feb. 5 are dates to remember.

You’ll want to show up at Planning Commission and City Council, respectively, on those dates to voice your wants, needs and concerns in terms of new city and school facilities. If you wait until the full city budget is released, it will more than likely be too late.

The capital improvements plan can be a boring document, but there is much to be excited about in the plan. This year’s proposed capital improvements plan features a new fire station in the College Drive area, a much-anticipated addition to Northern Shores Elementary School, a new downtown library, road and intersection improvements and more. These highly visible additions are one tangible way of tracking the city’s growth and progress, and they are sorely needed and will be well used and enjoyed by many people.

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Other parts of the plan are less visible but just as important. Drainage improvements, water source development and sewer system upgrades aren’t the most attractive parts of the plan, but they are important for keeping our city clean and our citizens healthy.

Two items on the plan deserve some extra attention. One is the village and neighborhood improvements, which has been a hot-button topic in recent years. Many neighborhoods feel they have been left out of these improvements for — not just years — but decades on end as they watch other areas get curbs and gutters and they continue to suffer the ramifications of using ditches.

The city’s capital improvements presentation given to the Planning Commission in December states the village and neighborhood improvements in the plan are for “Lloyd Place, Rosemont and other neighborhoods to be determined.” That means if you and your neighbors want your neighborhood included, it would be wise to call, send letters, show up and let city leaders know.

Another item of particular interest to many is the Downtown Master Plan. Initiatives include streetscaping on Main Street, a festival/events venue and market hall, redevelopment on the Phoenix Bank block, a downtown wayfinding system and gateway improvements.

Improvements to Suffolk’s downtown core are also sorely needed. If you feel as passionately about that as we do, it would be wise to let city leaders know that as well.

The message is don’t wait until after the capital improvements plan is approved to speak up!