Meadowcreek Parkway Letter Signed

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

March 21, 2005

After almost 30 years, the City of Charlottesville came very close to driving along a Meadowcreek Parkway.

On the night of Monday, March 21, the city council shook things up a bit. Many citizens thought a decision for the Meadowcreek Parkway would be announced, but instead the council opted only to have more discussion on the issue.

During Monday's meeting, council members voted to sign a letter of intent to create a design for a change to the roadways in Charlottesville. The committee then talked about recommended changes to make the Meadowcreek Parkway a reality.

Twelve conditions previously outlined by the council were to be voted on during the meeting, but took a backseat instead, in order to continue discussions. The one condition raising eyebrows is the requirement that the parkway must be built with an interchange at its future connection with the U.S. 250 Bypass.

Some critics told CBS19/ABC16 News off camera that it's a stalling tactic.

Council-member Blake Caravati responded, "I don't know where that argument comes from. It wasn't there in 2000, and certainly isn't here today."

The conditions are part of a memo adopted that is a stronger version of the previous one of 2000.

Another condition in the memo requires commitments from the county to replace land lost from McIntire Park during construction, and that doesn't sit well some council members either.

According to estimates, the interchange adds $25 million to the cost of the project, which runs in the city from the U.S. 250 Bypass to McIntire Park over to Rio Road, and then out into the county.

Not finished talking dollars yet, the council heard from the public on their $106 million budget for next year, which includes the under-staffed police department. Officers and their families created a sea of yellow by wearing yellow shirts to show solidarity while making their plea.

Over half of those millions for the city budget include $60 million for city schools. School board members made their presence known as well by filing in on the front rows of council chambers.

In the end, the city council did not vote on the Meadowcreek Parkway, or its conditions. The council members want to discuss the issuees further with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

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