Streetscape funding approved

By Terry Bartley - Civitas Media

MADISON, W.Va. — At this month’s city council meeting, the Madison City Council voted to fund the Main Street Streetscape project. This has been an ongoing project for three years and the council had concerns that the actual construction of the project has not yet begun.

“We’ve written a check for $50 thousand and haven’t seen anything, but I know the wheels of justice are like the wheels of government, they grind fine and slow,” Sonny Howell, the Mayor of Madison, said to representatives from the Department of Transportation.

The city was awarded two grants, each totaling $200,000, provided the city provided $50,000 for each grant. At the time of the meeting, the city had only paid the first $50,000. Ryan Burns of the Department of Transportation said that combining the two phases is what held up construction.

“What you have to understand is that had this just been a phase one, it would have already went to production, but to save money both phases were combined,” Burns said.

Burns also said that if Madison was concerned about the money, it would benefit them to send a formal request for funds to Rob Pennington at the Division of Highways.

“The Division of Highways, actually because of the economic situation throughout the state, if you’re in an economically distressed area, which you are, you can apply for 100 percent federal funds, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get it,” Burns said.

Wanda Banks, the representative from the Department of Transportation that is specifically handling this project, said until the second $50,000 is paid, they are unable to obtain the federal funds to finish the project. She said this was outlined in the grants the city applied for.

“You applied for two phases, and you agreed when you applied for those to spend $50 thousand for both of those,” Banks said, “There’s several steps that go through in any federal project.”

The Madison City Council ultimately passed through a unanimous vote to request 100 percent funding through the Division of Highways and if their request is refused, they will pay the remaining $47,500 to complete the project. Banks said the project is ready to go to production and the project has only experienced a couple of issues with utilities and the preservation of the Boone County Library’s historical status.

“Everything has actually progressed rather quickly, the plans have been reviewed twice,” Banks said, “This project is progressing rather smoothly compared to other projects I have worked on.”

By Terry Bartley

Civitas Media

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