City Council last week discussed the NeighborWoods program along with some planned improvements to the Pullen Arts Center.
One item was pulled from the consent agenda with the remaining passed in full. Item 14.1 concerned the Buck Jones widening project. The project aimed to improve safety by putting in a round-a-bout, adding bike lanes, and slowing vehicular traffic. Five specific parts of the project were pulled with the rest approved.
Z-4-15 was approved. It concerned a property on Louisburg Road that was to be rezoned to commercial mixed use with a three story height cap. Councilor John Odom had requested a time extension twice to allow for further discussion about the proposed development and the saving of trees on the property.
592 trees planted in past year as part of NeighborWoods Program
Leigh Bragassa from the city’s parks, recreation, and cultural resources department (PRCR) made a presentation about the NeighborWoods program. The program plants trees on right-of-ways at no cost to citizens in exchange for the citizens’ upkeep of the trees. 16,000 trees have been delivered.
“This past year alone we’ve had 592 trees planted,” Bragassa said.
Bragassa said volunteers play a large role in the program. They account for $12,000 in total benefit from volunteer hours. Two grants had been received in the past year. They went to the restoration of John Chavis Park and the Upper Walnut Creek greenway.
Amy Simes, vice chair on the parks, recreation, and greenway advisory board, gave the board’s recommendation about the improvements on the Pullen Arts Center and the North Pullen Park. A situational assessment took place and included two SWAT analyses.
“The board recommends approval of both situation assessments and the citizen planning committees attached to them,” Simes said.
Implementation on Pullen Arts Center Master Plan expected in 2016
James Maricodi gave an update about the project concerning the Pullen Arts Center. He discussed the master plan approved in 2002. The southern portion was built from 2009-2011. They are now pondering improvements to the northern portion. They are pledging six million to the improvements. They are currently in stage one, which includes conceptual diagramming of the improvements.
“And we anticipate implementation in March 2016,” Maricodi said.
“As we get more and more people moving to this area, we will get more and more people interested in an urban dog park at this location,” Stephenson said.
“The only comment I would make,” councilor Bonner Gaylord said, “would just be to encourage depth connection with the Gregg Museum. There is a great opportunity. I’m sure that is being recognized. But basically to extend Dix Park all the way to Hillsborough Street and essentially to have a front door to all those park facilities is a wonderful opportunity for our city.”
Cross Link traffic calming project approved
The Cross Link traffic calming project was approved. Councilor Eugene Weeks, the chair of the public works committee, made the report to council. He cited storm water drainage and parking available at Dandridge Drive and Cross Link Road as the two outstanding issues.
City staff member Jason Myers, who has been working closely on the project, said the parking issue was a minimal impact. Speed limit signs had been installed. A sign prohibiting unloading and loading of trucks will be constructed. There isn’t any expectation of any positive or negative impacts on storm water. Odom, a member of the public works committee, made the motion to approve.