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Stafford considers road loan

BY KATIE THISDELL

Celebrate Virginia Parkway in Stafford County could become part of the state’s public road system.

The Board of Supervisors on Sept. 18 will discuss lending half of the estimated $300,000 to Celebrate Virginia North 11 LLC to pay for needed road improvements. That area is being developed by the Silver Cos.

The four-mile parkway off U.S. 17 has been used for about a decade since it was built in 2001. Currently, the Celebrate Virginia North Community Development Authority pays to maintain the road. The CDA is funded through a separate tax on all the property owners within Celebrate Virginia.

Under an agreement that supervisors are expected to consider Tuesday, the county would lend $150,000, to be paid back over five years. Celebrate Virginia North would pay the same amount upfront. Any costs above $300,000—the estimated cost to bring the entire road up to state standards—would come from Stafford’s transportation fund.

Hartwood Supervisor Gary Snellings said he will recommend sending the proposed deal to the board’s infrastructure committee.

He expressed concerns about the lack of a cap on the county contribution, and about maintenance of the median on the parkway.

“I need a lot more information, is the bottom line,” Snellings said Wednesday.

Construction vehicles traveling to the Rocky Pen Run Reservoir project could use the parkway, a county spokeswoman said. However, the main reason the Stafford board is considering the deal is to give residents and the business park a state-maintained road to U.S. 17.

The discussion of the loan deal was deferred at the board’s last meeting.

The total infrastructure cost for the parkway was about $38 million, said Jud Honaker, president of commercial development for the Silver Cos., which formed the CDA. The road itself cost about $20 million.

The Celebrate Virginia North CDA doesn’t have the cash on hand to put the road into the state system now, Honaker said. The initial intent was to keep the road private.

In the early 2000s, Celebrate Virginia North had expected a rapid build-out of the multi-use development. Work would have been hindered if the Virginia Department of Transportation had been maintaining the four-lane road, county officials said.

But development stalled with the national economy. It’s starting to pick back up now in Celebrate Virginia North, with proposals for a law enforcement training facility and an apartment complex going before the Planning Commission on Sept. 19.

Residential roads off the parkway, including those that serve Celebrate by Del Webb, an active-adult community, also have remained privately maintained, since VDOT can’t “leapfrog” from one segment of road to another, said County Administrator Anthony Romanello.

In order for those roads to be state-maintained, the parkway must also be in the system.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975

kthisdell@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2012/09/12/stafford-considers-road-loan/

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