Dog park coming to Gate City

Nick Shepherd • Dec 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM

GATE CITY — Dogs in Gate City will soon have a new place to run, jump, slobber and play after work has begun on a dog park, which was approved and funded back in July.

A crew has cleared out the property where it will be located, and the next steps for the project include installing fencing, locating park benches and locating park amenities.

The proposed dog park is one of a number of projects taking place around the city. Members of the Gate City Town Council received updates about the projects at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

A dog park was first proposed to the council in May when Gate City Vice Mayor Roger Cassell, also a member of the planning commission, had met with Gate City Town Manager Greg Jones to look at a piece of property on Grogan Street. The council voted the next month to move forward with the project and approved the project in July.

Council members provided funding for the project with budget appropriations, according to Jones, and were told during the meeting that property had been cleared and planning will begin. The dog park will be located at Grogan Park.

Discussions are still ongoing about having an annual fee for the park. Jones said the park is expected to open in the summer of 2017.

The town's water treatment plant is also getting a half-million dollar upgrade.

Upgrades will be made to the backwash control system, chlorine room scales, generator, telemetry system and clearwell baffling system, among other improvements. The roof and steel doors will also be replaced.

Part of the projected $505,540 cost will come from the Virginia Department of Health. VDH will provide $136,000 in principal forgiveness. The rest will be paid for with a $368,540 loan to be paid for with a 30-year bond financed at 2.65 percent.

Due to significant water loss, many of the town's water meters will be replaced after a study of the pipes was done and no major leaks were found. An engineer with Mattern and Craig told the council they believe antiquated commercial meters were inaccurate due to age and have submitted applications to pay for replacing the meters.

East Jackson Street will see upgrades in the coming months — sidewalk replacement, railing, retaining walls, and street light fixtures — as part of the second and final phase of last year’s sidewalk replacement project. It is estimated to be completed by June 2017.

Jackson Street has also seen some improvements, including new pedestrian signs, and will continue to see more. VDOT still has to complete the crosswalks to conform to current standards. And Mattern & Craig will be redesigning parking spaces for optimization and correct location of handicap parking.

“The Virginia Department of Transportation has recently relocated the pedestrian signs on Jackson Street to improve visibility,” Jones said. “They will be updating the crosswalk stripping to current standards. In conjunction with this project, the Town has applied for grant funding for handicap access and safety rails on West Jackson Street. This will provide for a safer navigation for pedestrians who try to navigate the step-down transition between West Jackson Street and the sidewalk area.”

In other business:

— The council appointed Christy Justice to Gate City Town Clerk. The council also appointed Vickie Roberts to a four-year term on the planning commission and Margaret Falin to the Gate City Board of Zoning Appeals.

— Ann Sawyer and Karen Helm won the annual Christmas basket drawing from the Town Council.

— The council approved sending members Wallace W. Ross Jr. and Ron Kindle to the 2017 legislative visit in Richmond this coming January.

— A public hearing will be held on Jan. 10, 2017, to adopt the town code

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