Mount Airy officials approved a $36,500 expenditure Thursday afternoon which will facilitate the development of a new parking lot in the downtown area, to contain 50 spaces.
Property was acquired last year on Virginia Street for the project, which is being spearheaded by a city government advisory group known as Downtown Mount Airy Inc. It makes parking, landscaping and other infrastructure improvements using funds from a special Municipal Service District (MSD) tax levied on property owners downtown.
The need for more parking has been a concern there in recent years.
Ted Ashby, Downtown Mount Airy Inc. president, said the new lot is expected to be completed by early spring.
Since city taxpayer funds are involved with MSD projects, approval by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners is required before they can be spent. This was the case in May 2011 when the commissioners gave the nod to the acquisition of the Virginia Street site, known as the Shelton Plumbing property, at a reported price of $85,000.
Then on Thursday afternoon, the board unanimously approved the $36,500 expense, due to the original scope of the parking lot project being expanded to provide 50 spaces rather than an initial 32.
This is requiring the purchase of another 30-foot strip of property owned by Marianne Pruitt for $16,500. And in addition to that allocation the board OK’d the spending of $20,000 more to cover work at the site, where a building recently was razed.
Along with on-street spaces, several municipal parking lots offer public parking in the downtown area, including one located across North Main Street from Leon’s Burger Express. The new lot will be situated in an area behind the restaurant.
City Manager Barbara Jones said Thursday that money for the additional transactions is already in the city budget, but the commissioners’ action frees it up to be spent.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the commissioners reappointed members to the Mount Airy Appearance Commission and the city Historic Preservation Commission.
Ann Yokeley, Bill Rountree and Joy Barlow were reappointed to the appearance group for new three-year terms that will expire on June 30, 2015.
Reappointed to the Historic Preservation Commission were Shelby King and John Collins, who also were approved for three-year terms to run until June 30, 2015.
Amanda Yarboro was named as a new member of that group for the same duration. She is replacing Jim Cavallo, who did not seek reappointment.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.