City Council will discuss two proposals at its next meeting: changes from Broad Street Realty to the Williamsburg and Monticello Shopping Centers, and a fund aimed at making the city more aesthetically pleasing.
Broad Street Realty will present its updated design plan to City Council for its Midtown Row project on Thursday; it was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission Jan. 17.
The changes include pedestrian-friendly improvements, such as removing a portion of the housing development to allow for more parking and additional bike racks. The housing development shrinks from having 277 units to 240 units.
“There were some design changes that needed to be made,” Broad Street attorney Vernon Getty said during the meeting on Jan. 17.
Broad Street Realty, based in Bethesda, Md., bought the Williamsburg Shopping Center in January 2017 for $13.3 million and the Monticello Shopping Center for $4.2 million in November 2017. The properties are the company’s first purchases in the Historic Triangle.
“The general idea of the project is still there. There’s a little deviation but it’s still aligned with council’s goals for that redevelopment. It’s a big deal for us that this redevelopment is going to happen,” said council member, Benny Zhang.
Broad Street will present its site plan, which is the final design agreement for the project, and reveal a color scheme at a later meeting.
City Council also will discuss a beautification fund, which if approved would use donations to make Williamsburg more aesthetically pleasing.
Council will vote on whether to give the Williamsburg Community Foundation $10,000 to start a beautification fund. The fund would then be open to accept donations from the public.
Similar funds are used in Houston, Washington, D.C., Columbus, Ohio, and Oklahoma City, according to Nancy Sullivan, director of the Williamsburg Community Foundation.
“They all have one thing in common: they are charities that serve a defined region,” Sullivan said, during the City Council work session on Jan. 8.
The fund could be used to create bike and pedestrian paths, improve park, playground and recreation facilities, and maintain public art, among other things. It would be used to enhance the visual appeal of the city and improve the quality of life for its citizens, Sullivan said.
The fund wouldn’t be used to offset ongoing maintenance or other work normally financed by the city’s general budget.
“I join my colleagues in support of the fund,” Zhang said. “We have to put in $10,000, but I think it’s a justified, long-term investment. It’s something residents have wanted to see.”
Sullivan pointed to Houston and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund as one example of a public nonprofit organization entering a partnership with a city.
Houston city officials established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund in 2017 to accept tax-deductible donations for victims affected by the recent floods. The fund is housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
Similarly, the Williamsburg Community Foundation would control the beautification fund and determine recipients.
Want to go to the meeting?
When: 2 p.m. Feb. 8
Where: Stryker Center, 412 N. Boundary St.
Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.