City Council on Tuesday voted to set aside $1.5 million to serve as seed money for future renovations to the George Washington High School football stadium and field complex or construction of a new stadium and complex.
The money will be held until private donations and grants are secured to cover the cost of the project. A public hearing and another vote of City Council would be required before any of the $1.5 million could be spent.
If sufficient donations and grants cannot be raised, then City Council could transfer the $1.5 million back to unrestricted cash reserves from where it came.
The scope and cost of a stadium project is to be determined. The proposed city budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, includes $150,000 for a feasibility study and preliminary engineering. The study will determine if the current stadium -- J.T. Christopher Stadium -- and field complex should be renovated or if the city should construct a new on-campus facility. A third option could be constructing an off-campus facility. The study would address the need for a multi-sport complex that would be available to the community as well as the high school.
J.T. Christopher Stadium is located on the grounds of the high school and is home to the school’s football, soccer and track and field teams. The 43-year-old stadium is in need of repair to its concrete base, and the field is beset by drainage problems. The school has been unable to host track meets for years because the drainage issues have left the track asphalt in crumbled pieces.
The decision to earmark the money generated debate among Council members at Tuesday’s meeting about whether the money should be earmarked now or following the feasibility study. The final vote was 8-1 in favor of setting it aside now.
At last night’s business session, Council also:
• voted 6-3 to designate City Council as responsible for setting all Parks and Recreation fees,
• voted unanimously to abandon a remnant – 0.15 acre of surplus right of way -- of Del Mar Drive,
• reappointed Eugene F. Jackson as a member of the Airport Commission,
• reappointed John C. Lippert as a member of the Airport Commission,
• reappointed L. Hampton Wilkins as a member of the Airport Commission,
• appointed Jessie L. Barksdale as a member of the Airport Commission,
• reappointed Christopher K. Wiles as a member of the Dan River Alcohol Safety Action Program,
• appointed Telly Tucker as a member of the Danville Community College Board of Trustees,
• reappointed Tammy Warren as a member of the Danville Community Policy and Management Team,
• appointed Cynthia Pruitt-Rhodes as a member of the Danville Community Policy Management Team,
• reappointed R.J. Lackey as a member of the Danville Development Council,
• reappointed Shelby Irving as a member of the Danville Pittsylvania Community Services Board,
• reappointed James K. Turpin as a member of the Danville Utility Commission,
• reappointed William Donohue as a member of the Danville Utility Commission,
• reappointed Fred O. Shanks, III as a member of the Danville Utility Commission,
• appointed Charles Majors as a member of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research Board,
• reappointed Brian Finney as a member of the Social Services Advisory Board,
• reappointed Judy P. Keesee as a member of the Transportation Advisory Board,
• reappointed Ralph C. Price as a member of the Transportation Advisory Board.
Council also held first readings to:
• return $425,000 to the Virginia Tobacco Commission because AllergEase Inc. failed to meet established job creation and investment targets,
• accept $55,220 from the Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services Board to assist the Parks and Recreation Department in providing recreation, education and cultural services to intellectually challenged citizens,
• accept $117,550 in asset forfeiture funds from the Virginia Office of the Attorney General to assist the Sheriff’s Department in purchasing equipment for the jail and courthouse.
A first reading is a formal introduction to the public of pending matters before City Council. The City Charter requires a first reading before Council can vote on certain matters. Votes cannot take place follow a first reading until its next meeting at the earliest. Council’s next meeting is June 16.
Following the business session, Council reconvened in a work session to discuss employee pay for performance implementation, Main Street and Patton Street drainage problems, recommendations from the electric utility service study, and designation of a portion of Memorial Drive as “Patriot Way.”
In work sessions, Council reviews non-routine matters that will be voted upon in future business meetings.
River City TV broadcasts all business sessions. Watch them live on Comcast cable channel 10 or streaming at www.rivercitytv.org. Video archives of council business sessions also are available at www.rivercitytv.org.
Work sessions are not televised or recorded on video, but they are open to the public.