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BY DAN McFARLAND
The Orange Town Council is allocating up to $185,000 to cover identified funding shortfalls in the Byrd Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Project.
The project started in November 2003 with an application for a $471,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation's Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program. It ran into delays when it was determined that the town did not own the rights of way required.
Costs rose over time, and the latest VDOT estimate of $920,000 indicates that that the funding proposed for the project would fall some $183,000 short.
Last December, the council identified the Byrd Street improvement as its priority among road projects.
At Monday's council meeting, newly elected Councilman Rick Sherman moved to allocate up to $185,000 to cover the shortfall, with the money to come from the existing funds being held for the May-Fray Connector project if needed. Councilwoman Martha Roby seconded the motion, and the council passed it 4-0. Councilman Henry Lee Carter was not present.
Roby--who, like Sherman, was sworn in earlier this month--asked for a reconsideration of the decision to cut the town's contribution to the Gordonsville Pool.
In May, as part of the proposed budget, outgoing Councilman Kent Higginbotham persuaded the council to cut the town's contribution from $2,500 to $500, with the remainder going to the Orange Free Clinic.
Roby noted that because of that cut, Orange residents were no longer receiving a discount on admission to the only public pool in the county.
"When it was 100 and some degrees outside," Roby said, "it would have been nice to swim."
Councilman Harry Hopkins moved to reinstate the $2,500 contribution to the Gordonsville Pool, and the motion passed unanimously.