Charlottesville City Councilors Review Construction Easements Requested by UVA
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Plans to extend the reach of the University of Virginia grounds down Brandon Avenue in Charlottesville are one step closer to becoming reality. On Tuesday night, city councilors reviewed several easements requested by the university to help move construction along.
The Brandon Avenue redevelopment at UVA has been a major, on-going project for the past few years. Now that we are starting to see some of the results of the project, the developer is asking for some help from the city to bring the rest of the work to a close.
Just last month, the university opened the Bond House - a brand-new upperclassmen dorm along Brandon Avenue. The project also calls for moving the university's student health center and adding a greenway and stormwater feature.
To make all that happen, UVA is looking to replace existing pedestrian and public utility easements in the construction area with updated ones. The university is also requesting new easements to add a waterline and fiber optic lines along Jefferson Park Avenue.
“The redevelopment project envisions multi-functional programs, enhanced pedestrian connections, and a mix of uses for the student community,” said Lauren Hildebrand, director of utilities for the city of Charlottesville.
Now that the new bond house dorm is open, UVA has turned its attention to the construction of a new student wellness center. Tuesday night was the first time these requested easements came before the council.
Councilors will have to take a second look at them before taking a final vote on September 16.
Also, Charlottesville City Council is allocating more than $4 million of grant funding toward phase two of the city's West Main Streetscape Project. This money is coming from the Virginia Department of Transportation SMART SCALE and Revenue Sharing grants.
It will go toward funding wider sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes, and landscaping along West Main Street. The entire Streetscape phase two project will cost just over $12 million.
During the same meeting, Charlottesville City Manager Tarron Richardson established a new line of succession to clearly designate who can declare a local emergency in his absence. On Tuesday night, city councilors approved Richardson’s plan. In the city manager's absence, Deputy City Manager Letitia Shelton is next in line.
After Shelton comes Deputy City Manager Mike Murphy, then Interim Deputy City Manager Paul Oberdorfer.
A formal line of succession first came into question in 2018 after then-City Manager Maurice Jones left the city prior to the first anniversary of August 12, 2017, and uncertainty arose regarding who had the authority to declare a local emergency.