New road, Tech Center top Newport News manager's capital improvements list

Theresa Clift
Contact Reportertclift@dailypress.com
Newport News plans to add a road connecting Warwick and Jefferson for $58M on the north side.

A new $58 million road to connect Jefferson Avenue and Warwick Boulevard, a new $38.5 million transportation center, and $42.6 million to accommodate for Tech Center at Oyster Point are all projects City Manager Jim Bourey recommends the city start to fund next fiscal year.

Bourey presented his recommendations for the next five years of capital improvement plans, totaling about $475 million, to the City Council during a work session Tuesday. The council will vote on whether to approve the recommendations in January; fiscal year 2016 begins in July.

All of the recommendations may not pass the council with ease, however.

Several council members Tuesday questioned why the city is now planning to fund $42.6 million in accommodations for the Tech Center, when in June 2013 John Lawson, president and CEO of W.M. Jordan Co., said the entire project would be privately financed.

"There will be no city money involved," Lawson said at the time.

The council approved rezoning to allow for the development in August 2013.

"The tax burden is on us now to support his project and that's not right," councilwoman Saundra Cherry said at Tuesday's work session after seeing the recommendation.

"I don't want to put all of our CIP eggs in one basket," councilwoman Sharon Scott said.

The $42.6 million, $16.75 million of which to be spent next fiscal year, would fund the construction and improvement of public facilities and infrastructure and the relocation of the school division's transportation, food services and plant services facilities currently located at the SCOT site on Hogan Drive, Bourey wrote in a memo to the council. The school board also would need to approve the relocation.

The sprawling $250 million development will include retail, residential and commercial space, and a technology and research center on 100 acres adjacent to Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.

Some other projects Bourey recommended:

•Construction of Atkinson Boulevard: A new connector road between Jefferson Avenue and Warwick Boulevard in the northern part of the city. $9.8 million next fiscal year, $57.9 million over five years.

•Newport News transportation center: Proposed 8,000-square-foot center at 500 Bland Blvd., that will include an Amtrak station and accommodate Hampton Roads Transit and Greyhound buses, as well as taxi stands: $7.4 million next fiscal year, $38.5 million over five years.

•Denbigh Community Center, phase two, including a pool. $8.3 million total, spent in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

•Southeast Community redevelopment: $1.76 million next fiscal year, $8.84 million over five years.

•Virgil I. Grissom Library new building: $6.8 million total in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

•The Newport News City Park pavilion: Will replace pavilion that was destroyed when it was struck by lightning in the summer of 2012: $670,000 in funding next fiscal year.

•Interior restoration of the Lee Hall Depot: The final stage in restoration for the historic depot. The exterior improvements were finished earlier this year. $180,000 next fiscal year, $580,000 over five years.

•Denbigh area/Warwick Boulevard development initiatives and streetscaping: $500,000 next fiscal year, $2.5 million over five years.

•Seafood Industrial Park bulkhead repair: $1.5 million next fiscal year.

•Downtown initiatives: $3.2 million total spent in fiscal years 2017 through 2020.

The council will revisit the projects to receive funding in fiscal years 2017 through 2020 each year.

Clift can be reached by phone at 757-247-7870.

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