City officials may launch work at RCC

By Tom Joyce -

Mount Airy officials are poised to launch long-awaited work to increase parking spaces at Reeves Community Center.

During a meeting to begin Thursday at 7 p.m., the city Board of Commissioners will consider authorizing permission for municipal staff members to proceed with renovations and construction involving three existing lots at the center.

Parking availability has been a major issue at RCC in recent years, and a topic of discussion at various meetings of city officials.

Favorable action Thursday night would set into motion improvements to parking lots located on Cherry, Pine and Renfro streets.

That potential decision is coming on the heels of in-depth discussions held late last year about projects for those lots aimed at increasing the number of parking spaces by up to 60 altogether.

Collectively, these improvements have a price tag of $400,000 to $500,000, based on previous estimates.

One facet has called for expanding the parking lot adjoining Cherry Street to accommodate an additional 40 vehicles, double its present capacity, while also providing handicapped access.

Officials have said there is a further need to correct drainage problems in the lot which have caused the lower level of the center to be flooded, through such work as the building of a retaining wall 5 to 6 feet high.

A design for the Cherry Street lot was nearly complete in March, but was pushed back due to re-design work being required because of a discovery of debris at that site, a need for additional borings and waiting for related reports.

City staff members believe construction for the Cherry Street lot will begin next March, with a six-month project window anticipated.

The plans for the RCC parking lot on Pine Street called for paving its existing gravel surface and allowing 20 vehicles to park there at all times, based on previous reports, along with moving the driveway for the lot. Another, costlier option discussed for that site involved changing the lot’s layout to create about 10 more spaces with retaining walls.

Officials report that the Pine Street lot was widened in early June, clearing the way for re-sealing and re-striping tasks.

Meanwhile, the project for the Renfro Street lot is to be bid out in the near future, with renovations to occur soon after. The improvements proposed there, based on previous reports, have included applying a seal coat and re-striping to gain about 10 extra spaces while also enhancing traffic flow.

The city government acquired a small parcel on property at the corner of East Pine and Renfro streets last winter to accommodate that work.

Documents for Thursday night’s council meeting do not specifically mention a final scope of work, and total parking spaces to result, and city Parks and Recreation Director Catrina Alexander could be reached Tuesday for clarification.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

By Tom Joyce

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