City Council to discuss grants, courthouse relocation

Published 11:27 am Saturday, July 22, 2017

Several grant applications and a discussion of the proposed relocation of the Southampton County Courthouse are the two main agenda items listed for Franklin’s City Council meeting on Monday, July 24.

The City of Franklin has been approved for another state grant of up to $138,080 to upgrade its emergency communications technology. The appropriation of this award and two other grant applications, which have not yet been completed, require resolutions by city council to proceed.

The first of these is an open space and parks category grant from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation to allow the city to acquire vacant property that abuts the Blackwater River and Business Route 58.

If the city is approved for the grant request, the grant would pay up to 50 percent of the total project cost. In their application, the city is seeking up to $90,000 in grant funds. If funded, the city proposes to acquire the property for use as a passive recreational park and access point to the Blackwater River for fishing and kayaking. The grant application is due Aug. 10.

The second grant for which the city is applying is another U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Division grant to help the city purchase one or more new police cars. Last fiscal year, the city was approved for one vehicle. This year, the city intends to seek funding to replace two vehicles.

Also on the agenda for Monday is an update on a proposed resolution to be voted upon by the Southampton County Board of Supervisors to set a referendum for county and city voters concerning the relocation and construction of a new Southampton County Courthouse. The referendum would be held in conjunction with the regular November general election.

On Wednesday, July 12, the Courthouse Committee recommended a site on Camp Parkway as the location for the new courthouse and directed Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson to forward their recommendation to Southampton County’s Board of Supervisors and proceed with the referendum. This recommendation is included in the draft resolution. The Southampton County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on the proposed resolution on the same date and time as the city council meeting.

“No council action is required for this item,” Martin said in a memorandum to City Council. “Mayor [Frank] Rabil and I, as the city’s representatives on the committee, supported the committee’s recommendation for the Camp Parkway site.”

The final items on city council’s agenda for Monday are a discussion of the Community Development staff’s efforts to pursue a joint city-county grant request to the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization for regional funding to complete a required engineering study of improvements at the U.S. 58/258 interchange, and a Port Corridors of Commerce Study. The engineering study would examine the possibility of upgrading the interchange in a similar manner to the U.S. 58/General Thomas Highway interchange. The requested grant amount is $150,000 to complete the U.S. 58 Corridor Study. The Port Corridors of Commerce Study would be complimentary to the U.S. 58 Corridor Study.