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Votes

Capital Improvement Project Status

Council and commission receive update on projects.

Bob Boxer, director of public works for the town, updated the Herndon Town Council and Planning Commission on the status of the town's Capital Improvement Program (CIP) at a Jan. 18 joint committee meeting.

Because the town's fiscal year 2004-05 budget ends June 30, Boxer met with both groups to identify projects the town hopes to have done in five months and the stages of the unfinished projects.

Boxer identified 11 active projects that the town was pushing to have completed.

Those projects include the Jefferson Street Park improvements, Runnymede Park nature center, Herndon Community Center phase IV, cultural arts center, Herndon Police Station, downtown streetscape improvements, triangle streets improvements — Monroe, Elden and Van Buren, South Elden Street improvements, storm drainage improvements — Monroe to Station streets, golf course master plan phase I improvements, cemetery improvements and Sugarland Trail improvements.

Of those projects the Runnymede nature center and cultural arts center have been put on hold — both because of actions taken at the town-council level saying more information and financing need to come forward before construction plans are initiated.

Construction cost increases, among other things, resulted in some of the listed projects to fall short of the June 30 deadline.

COUNCIL MEMBER STEVEN MITCHELL questioned Boxer about the continual increase in construction costs asking whether or not the town will have to take a "crippled path" in the years to come with projects or "are we going to have to start prioritizing?"

One suggestion Mitchell had was to re-evaluate the projects, using the golf course improvements as his example, to determine what was most important to the town as a whole.

Mitchell also suggested to only do necessary improvements to projects initially, such as the specific spots on Station Street that need help and phasing the other areas to be complete over time as they wear down.

Vice Mayor Darryl Smith asked Boxer how the town could plan for increases in the upcoming years.

"Can we go back and look at some of the increased prices so we won't be disappointed when we come back short?" he said.

Boxer said although the town deals with experts who know the market, this year almost everyone came up short — not just in town but regionally — because of outside factors.

TO IDENTIFY the various stages of each project, the department of public works created a green, amber and red classification.

The green classification shows that one or more elements of the project are either ready to go by June 30 or already complete.

Amber means the project could be ready to go, but due to other factors may not make it.

Red means the project will not meet the five-month timetable, but Boxer reiterated that does not mean the project is stopped; it just cannot be completed by the end of June.

Of the 11 listed projects many have the design aspect complete, but the construction is designated red because either bidding has not begun or was higher than anticipated.

"My biggest concerns are price increases, we're seeing it across the board," said Boxer about the amber and red projects.

Of the projects listed, the Herndon police facility is on track with Holder Construction Company having gutted the building at 397 Herndon Parkway before the new year.

Boxer updated the group saying they are working fast to erect the steel wall frames and dry wall, adding the most recent allocation of a $325,000 grant for additional security has the town pushing completion because the grant must be used in an allotted amount of time.

Another project on a time limit is the Sugarland Trail improvements, which have a go on design and construction and are actively being worked on.

Boxer said the grant for Sugarland expires in April, explaining they are working hard to get the culverts and bridges in at the end of the trails and are hopeful that by April they will have the trail improved behind the new police station all the way up to Elden Street.

Other major projects also progressing include the Herndon Community Center phase IV improvements, which the commission and council recently approved and which Boxer said bids for construction are scheduled for March, leaving construction to begin shortly after.

The Runnymede nature center — a project that has been on the CIP for years — recently lost funds because they were transferred to assist in the completion of the police station and Sugarland Run Trail. At the time council and staff promised those funds would be returned by the start of the FY '05-06.

Boxer said by summer they hope to begin the bidding process for the construction of the nature center.