The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Riverfront Park tops city’s agenda
BY ROBYN SIDERSKY
The Fredericksburg City Council is scheduled to discuss awarding a design contract for Riverfront Park tonight, but at least one member is asking for a delay.
The council’s agenda includes an item calling for approval of a $99,656 design contract with Alexandria-based Rhodeside & Harwell, the firm selected by the Riverfront Task Force.
Since the contract for the design of the park was in front of the council for approval in December, it has been revised in response to questions raised by some council members.
Some of the concerns were over the specifics of what the company would provide, and making sure that any design would pass state and federal regulations. Council members also raised questions about whether the city can afford to build the park beside the Rappahannock River off Sophia Street.
The contract now includes a list of specific “deliverables” and a paragraph that emphasizes “the importance of preparing a design which meets regulatory standards imposed by a variety of federal, state and local authorities,” according to a staff memo written by Robert K. Antozzi, director of parks, recreation and public facilities.
But some council members are still not satisfied. Council members Matt Kelly, Fred Howe, Bea Paolucci and Brad Ellis raised questions in an op-ed piece (read here) published in The Free Lance–Star Saturday.
In an email to the other council members and city staff over the weekend, Howe requested that the item be pulled from the agenda.
“Given all the outstanding issues and the fact that we have not set forth any quantitative decisions and/or agreements as a body on the process going forward, I would respectfully request in advance that this item be pulled from the Jan. 8 agenda for our Council meeting,” he wrote.
Council member George Solley, who has been a driving force behind the park, said he sees no reason to postpone the vote. “There’s no reason not to go forward,” he said, “and there are legitimate reasons not to postpone it.”
At its recent retreat, the council ranked completing the design for Riverfront Park second on its list of priorities to get done over the next two years.
The park was started a few years ago, but the work was put on hold due to the downturn in the economy.
Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413