City of Colonial Heights Lays Out 2016 Goals

By Shelby Mertens, The Progress-Index

COLONIAL HEIGHTS — The City of Colonial Heights has laid out its goals for 2016, which include several major capital improvement projects, public safety and economic development.

The goals are based on the discussions from the City Council’s retreat in January. City Manager Thomas Mattis presented the city’s goals to the public at the February City Council meeting.

This year’s goals have a strong emphasis on upgrading the city’s aging infrastructure, including schools, city facilities and roads.

“We have a focus on capital improvements this year,” Mattis said.

The city’s capital improvement projects include construction preparation of the Dupuy Avenue and Lakeview Avenue modernization projects — which will start in 2017 — as well as completion of the Bruce Avenue drainage project which will upgrade a section of the city’s stormwater system.

Other construction projects that will be kicking off this year include the next phase of the Appomattox River Greenway Trail project and the Shepherd Stadium improvements.

Phase four of the greenway trail project, which totals $1.5 million, will be continuing the walking and bike trail along the Appomattox River from Roslyn Landing Park. The trails will be two miles long. The project is meant to attract residents to utilizing the river and the trails as a mode of “green” transportation and recreational leisure. About $1.2 million of the funding is coming from grants.

The improvements to Shepherd Stadium — built in 1948 — include a new brick facade to the outside of the grandstand seating area, new fencing, painting, gutters and windows. The renovations will occur over a two year period with a $108,000 price tag. The animal shelter is also slated for much needed renovations to its aging facilities.

The goals also include continued support of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Temple Avenue I-95 roundabout project, which will begin construction this spring, and the construction of Kroger on Temple Avenue as well.

The City Council will officially approve its new five-year Capital Projects program with a revised ranking of priorities. The city said it will also work with the school division in implementing their own capital improvement projects, which include the renovation of the high school biology and science labs.

The city will adopt its first ever Economic Development Strategic Plan this year after business leaders and regional stakeholders met with city officials in the fall of 2015. The city’s goal is to strive to revitalize Boulevard in order to make it the central business district of the city.

Public safety priorities include finalizing the Capital Region Radio Project, which is meant to improve communication for first responders. The city also plans to work with the police department and the Southpark Mall management to review security protocol. This comes as the city voted last month to change the city’s curfew from midnight to 11 p.m. due to the crowds of teens who linger outside the mall area.

The City Council also plans to make a final decision on regulation of commercial vehicles and trailers on residential properties, an issue that continues to be brought up at meetings. The city also plans to revamp its beautification standards, making sure property owners maintain the appearance of their yards, with grass, weeds and inoperable vehicles as the priorities.

“I think it’s a good, healthy list,” Mattis said. “I think they’re all fairly attainable.”

The City Council voted unanimously to adopt the goals without comment. Mattis had put together a presentation to review the council’s retreat, however, the City Council agreed to postpone the presentation until the council could resolve unfinished discussion of ideas.