A long-awaited project to repair a municipal-owned parking lot in downtown Mount Airy could gain firm footing this Thursday at a meeting of the city board of commissioners.
During the 2 p.m. session, the board will consider the awarding of a $182,327 contract for badly needed improvements to the lot located between Brannock & Hiatt Furniture and Old State Winery in the 400 block of North Main Street.
The lot that is heavily used by the public has been deteriorating in recent years, including failing pavement that contains cracks and potholes and sags in some places.
Over the past couple of years or so, city officials have become increasingly concerned about the need to repair the lot and made it a priority, with funding for the project included in the 2016-2017 municipal budget.
Construction proposals were received on Jan. 18, which revealed a low bid from Sowers Construction Co. of Mount Airy, one of two firms vying for the job. Its $182,327 offer was exceeded by more than $102,000 from the other company submitting a proposal, PCS Construction Services, which bid $302,334.
In a recent memo to City Manager Barbara Jones, Mitch Williams, city engineer, recommends that Sowers Construction be awarded the contract based on its past satisfactory performance on municipal projects.
Along with the contract figure, plans call for contingency funds to be included to cover unforeseen problems, for a total project price of $200,000.
The parking lot rehabilitation effort will include undercutting and repairing the failing asphalt, adding granite curbing and installing new landscaping and sidewalks.
While the lot now contains 36 spaces, four are to be added to that through the project that will include a more efficient layout being implemented, according to Public Works Director Jeff Boyles.
Boyles added Monday that plans call for the work to begin in early March and be done around mid-April, weather permitting.
Decorative lighting and landscaping, an estimated $30,000 cost, will not be part of the contract award the commissioners will consider Thursday.
Also Thursday afternoon, the city board is expected to vote to set a public hearing on a rezoning request affecting property on Reeves Drive off U.S. 601.
Mark Hauser has applied to have the zoning for the site at 920 Reeves Drive changed from its present R-6 (General Residential) to B-2 (General Business).
There are no plans at present for the property should the rezoning be approved, according to city Planning Director Andy Goodall.
Goodall added Monday that Hauser might expand the parking area from his existing building at that location, a veterinary office, if he some day puts on an addition that would eliminate part of the existing parking lot.
Citizens will have a chance to weigh in on the rezoning at the public hearing on Feb. 16.
No one spoke in opposition to the move when it was recently considered by the Mount Airy Planning Board, which voted 5-0 to recommend that the commissioners approve the zoning change.
Among other agenda items Thursday, the commissioners will:
• Recognize Black History Month with a city proclamation in honor of that observance.
• Conduct a closed session to discuss matters relating to the acquisition of property.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.