By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Despite continued delays created by winter weather, city officials are hoping a new parking lot in downtown Bluefield will be open before the end of spring.
City Manager Jim Ferguson said approximately 85 percent of the new parking area at the former site of the Scott Street Parking Garage is complete. However, recent inclement weather has delayed full completion of the project.
“Because it is no longer a parking garage, we have been referring to this project as the Scott Street Open Air Parking Center,” Ferguson said. “This week the masonry on the bank end of the lot was scheduled to begin, but the weather hasn’t cooperated with us. We also still have to do the fabrication of a fence and decorative railing for safety around the parking center and up the staircase. A guardrail will go along Edward Terrace. A final grade will be installed. Lights will be installed on the terrace walls and there will be at least two light poles in the lot itself. We also have to put up the handicap signage and do the striping for the lot.”
As the West Virginia Division of Highways is the first to use asphalt plants when they open for the spring season, Ferguson said the city will have to wait a little longer before paving can begin on the lot.
“We will start paving on May 1 and hope to have it finished by mid-May,” Ferguson said. “When it is finished, the parking center will have 65 parking spaces with at least 21 additional spaces on Edward Terrace for a total of 86 spots. Some will be reserved for First Century Bank and we are in talks with West Virginia Manor to address some of their parking needs.”
Though the original plans called for the entire project to be completed before Jan. 1, 2013, Ferguson said going over the original time frame has not cost the city any money.
“It hasn’t cost the city any money for going over the time table,” Ferguson said. “There were, however, some minimal change orders because things with the project came up that were unforeseen. When they did the staircase, they found the soil in that area was unsuitable and they had to dig deeper and fill in the gap with concrete. There are some additional costs that have been incurred, but we will stay within what was originally budgeted for the project.”
When the paving of the parking lot is completed, Ferguson said there are two additional projects the city will be working on in the area.
“We have two other projects involving the garage we are currently discussing as well,” he said.
“The Bluefield Beautification Commission has created a beautiful landscaping design they will oversee. There are two sections that are 365 feet long and 17 feet deep they will be landscaping for us. The city is currently reviewing the landscaping design with them.”
Ferguson said the city’s sanitary board is also exploring the option of installing pervious concrete, a material Ferguson said will absorb water directly into the city’s stormwater system rather than letting it run off into the streets.
“Basically, the concrete acts like a sponge when it rains,” Ferguson said. “The water will filter through the concrete and into the stormwater system instead of having to run off into drains. The concrete will be able to filter 1 inch of rain and be the first of its kind installed in southern West Virginia. It will act as pollution control for the stormwater system. This would be 120 feet by 155 feet long concrete and 3 feet deep with filtration media below. The piping will take it strait into the storm water system. It is something very neat and the sanitary board has been looking at several ways to implement this.”
— Contact Kate Coil at firstname.lastname@example.org