Town moves forward with new garage
Published Nov. 19, 2014 in the Herald & Tribune
The Town of Jonesborough will soon see some changes for the town garage, as well as its current property located behind the new Senior Center site.
At the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Nov. 10, board members discussed an agreement with the Community Design Assistance Center of Virginia Tech and the option to purchase land from Jean Rosenbaum for a town garage complex.
“We are going to be doing some things to increase the parking lot at the facility,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said. “But the entire time we have discussed the Senior Center, we have also discussed the impact of the city garage operation and, as it currently exists, on the surrounding neighborhood.”
According to town officials, Jonesborough has unfortunately outgrown the space for the town garage, leaving equipment being crammed into spaces too small, left outside uncovered in the elements and damaged due to restricted turning.
“The town garage could look a lot better than it does. It’s a vastly overcrowded operation,” Wolfe said. “We have grown leaps and bounds, tenfold probably since the time the current town garage was put into operation. We went from a 20×30 parking lot to the current town garage operation. It is probably time to move on.”
Wolfe went on to say that discussions several years ago targeted issues with town property maintenance.
“In my opinion, it is hard for us to insist that someone maintains their property in a neat and tidy manner if we can’t do the same,” Wolfe said. “Quite honestly, I think the town garage is a detriment to the neighborhood in which it is currently located. It’s not something that we have done consciously; it has just become so over time.”
Alderman Homer G’Fellers made the motion to approve the option to purchase land from Jean Rosenbaum for a town garage complex, which unanimously passed. Alderman Chuck Vest was not present.
The Rosenbaum property includes 19 acres between SR 353 and the railroad tracks in the western part of Jonesborough. The 2011 appraisal valued the property at $8,750 per acre, with a total value of $172,025.
“This Rosenbaum property that we are talking about, I think, because of its location to the sewer plant and its relatively flat topography, would give us room to expand and a good place that we could operate without being in a visible area, without impacting a neighborhood,” Wolfe said.
He said it provides an opportunity to not only take care of the town garage, but possibly have a couple of soccer fields or ball parks.
A motion to approve the agreement with the Community Design Assistance Center of Virginia Tech, which was unanimously approved, was made by Alderman Terry Countermine. The agreement includes a conceptual development plan for a proposed park area where the garage is now located and plans for a new town garage complex.
Wolfe said discussions have been made for a long time regarding a new senior park concept in and around the Senior Center. He said the concept would be a very welcoming asset to the community.
“I know the neighborhood would certainly benefit from it,” he said.
Wolfe told the aldermen that he has taken a look at some of the work that the Community Design Assistance Center has done.
“You could emphasize community gardens. You could have a pet park. You could have a young child playground park. You could have a park where seniors could walk around and enjoy the serene landscaping,” he said.
Wolfe believes a park is a great opportunity to complement the new Senior Center.
“We as a board and as a community and as a Parks and Rec Board and Tree and Townscape Board have a chance to have input to make this thing uniquely Jonesborough and make it something special,” he said.
“There are a lot of different potential concepts for us to consider here, and these folks at Virginia Tech have a very good handle on it. Very impressive.”
The proposal includes Forest Competitive Grant funds in the amount of $18,540 that will pay the Community Design Assistance Center for the costs in developing the plans for both projects. The fund, which is part of a Virginia Department of Forestry federal grant fund, has an in-kind matching requirement of $12,887.
“Our in-kind contributions come from surveying and (topography) and doing staff work to help the company, which we would do anyway,” Wolfe said.
“For all intents and purposes, we are getting (the conceptual development plans) for free, which is pretty awesome.”