Veterans' memorial project moves forward

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By April Wright, Reporter

The City of Galax has contracted with North Carolina Granite Corporation to provide and install the memorial stones at the site of the Blue Ridge Veterans Memorial by Veterans Day.
City council received an update on the project at its Aug. 13 meeting. The large memorial is being constructed next to the Galax Public Library on West Stuart Drive.
The total cost to construct and install the monuments for this portion of the memorial is about $45,000.
Construction of the remaining foundations is almost complete and the site will be graded afterwards.
Items remaining to be purchased include the POW memorial, the granite curbing and benches.

In other action, council:
• learned about grants awarded from the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission. The city received a two-year Southwest Virginia Water and Wastewater Construction Grant and three Infrastructure Planning and Technical Assistance grants.
The construction grant will fund improvements to the Galax Wastewater Treatment Facility. This is an $80,000 project for renovations to the two wastewater supply column and distribution piping towers.
Planning and technical assistance grant projects will be used for the B.C. Vaughan pump station preliminary engineering report, costing $10,000. This is to look at possible needs or upgrades to the B.C. Vaughan pump station with proposed work at Wildwood Industrial Park. The award is for $5,000 with a $5,000 match required.
Also, the grant will be used for Glen Ridge Road water design, costing $10,000, to develop construction design documents for installation of about 1,600 feet of a water distribution system along Glendale Road between intersections with Country Club Lane and Glen Ridge Road.
This project is one of the few remaining projects to be completed as recommended from the 2007 preliminary engineering report. The award is for $5,000 with a $5,000 match required.
The grant also will be used for the Oldtown Street sewer design, costing $15,000, to develop construction design documents for replacement of 1,200 feet of sanitary sewer collection system along Oldtown Street between the crossing streets of West Stuart Drive and Jefferson Street. The award is for $7,500 with a $7,500 match required.

• approved several items to move forward with the Galax Bottom Revitalization Project, a housing rehab and storm drainage improvement plan.
Council approved the business and employment plan, non-discrimination policy, residential anti-displacement and relocation assistance plan, fair housing certification and Section 504 grievance procedure.

• approved a street closure request for Chestnut Creek School of the Arts. CCSA will hold a Fall into Art festival on Sept. 22 on Grayson Street from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

• heard a request from the Life Center of Galax.
Tina Bullins, executive director of the Life Center, has requested permission to develop a marked walking route along portions of the drug and alcohol rehab center on Painter and Murphy streets.
The Life Center has a walking route along the perimeter of the property using the street and alley. The Life Center would paint footsteps to mark a quarter-mile route.
All areas are within view of Life Center staff, and the physical activity is encouraged as part of the treatment process.
Council approved the request.

• heard from City Manager Keith Barker on possible loan refinancing of the city’s debt service on the library and recreation center construction projects.
Because of lower interest rates, Virginia Municipal League can put these loans back out to the bond market, and the city will see a reduction in its payments, but no additional length of payments.
Savings in the first year would be $40,000 and about $14,000 each year afterwards.

• heard from Barker on the Department of Conservation and Recreation regulations. The governor and legislators signed new laws into effect that will require each locality to develop a stormwater permitting and inspection process.
City staff are attending various seminars and information sessions on the program.
Over the next few months, the city will be required to develop an ordinance and program that must be adopted by city council. The full program must be in place by July 2014, and the city will place new development standards on construction projects, along with additional plan reviews, permits and yearly maintenance permits.