MARTINSVILLE — The Martinsville Redevelopment Commission approved a motion early Wednesday morning to spend up to $3 million on the first two phases of the downtown action plan — which includes work on the proposed stage at Pike and Jefferson streets, street work along Jefferson Street, work on an alley that connects Morgan and Pike streets between Jefferson and Main streets and renovating a building located next to the alley for public restrooms.

The approval also includes a contingency of up to 10 percent over the budgeted amount — or $300,000.

The money for the project comes from a redevelopment bond that the commission recently obtained.

"To me, I think the motion would be allowing them (Ogle McGuire Shook and Kimley-Horn) to proceed from 50 percent plans to 100 percent and understanding that we would allow up to $3 million total plus contingency before they would have to come back to us to represent anything," RDC Chairman Dair Grant said.

Ogle McGuire Shook and Kimley-Horn are the two companies working together to create site plans for phases one and two of the downtown action plan project.

Kimley-Horn's Brandon Schreeg said that one of the plans is to raise Jefferson Street from the alley to Pike Street up six inches.

"There will be two vehicular curb-ramps that kind of raise you up to that," Schreeg said.

He also noted that the stage will be raised three feet above the lawn area.

There will also be green space on the property located just west of Jefferson Street at Pike, as well as a small parking lot.

The plan also calls for catenary lighting in the pedestrian alleyway between Morgan and Pike streets, as well as over Jefferson Street near Pike.

The motion to approve the work up to $3 million, with the 10 percent contingency, was approved unanimously by the RDC 5-0.

Land purchase

At the beginning of Wednesday morning's meeting, RDC attorney Dakota VanLeeuwen gave an update on the purchase of the lots located at Jefferson and Pike streets for the first two phases of the downtown action plan.

In July, the Martinsville City Council approved for the city to begin the eminent domain process against the owner of the lots, Ron Stanhouse, in order to acquire the property.

That process, however, recently ended as the city and Stanhouse have come to an agreement for the lots.

The RDC had initially set aside $150,000 per lot for the purchase — a total of $300,000 to buy both pieces of property.

VanLeeuwen noted during Wednesday's meeting that Stanhouse and the city had come to an agreement to pay an extra $50,000 per lot — bringing the overall total to $400,000.

She told members of the RDC that it needed to approve a motion that the original $300,000 for the property acquisition of the two lots.

Grant asked VanLeeuwen if the RDC was paying $300,000 or the full $400,000.

"That is your decision to make," VanLeeuwen responded.

Grant then asked Martinsville Mayor Kenny Costin what the city was asking the RDC to pay.

"No comment at this time Dair," Costin responded.

VanLeeuwen said that when the RDC worked to obtain the bond money, it included a buffer of $200,000 to $250,000 over the initial $300,000 budget for property acquisition.

It was then asked if Stanhouse had signed documentation, with Costin noting that the purchase of the property would close today, Aug. 12.

VanLeeuwen said that she would reach out to city attorney Dale Coffey to determine how the RDC needs to proceed concerning the purchasing of the property.

An official motion would then need to take place by the RDC in a future meeting.
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