Allen street repairs will likely begin this summer
Funding for Allen Street repairs in Sylva has seen several boosts over the last several months. These funding opportunities have allowed the town to expand the scope of the project to include repairs to Bryson Park, and to begin construction on the road this summer.
The designs for two portions of the road with slide damage are underway right now. According to Town Manager Paige Dowling, those will go out to contract in late May or early June. Construction on the first portion of the road should begin in July and the second is likely to begin in August.
The town received more than $3 million in funding through the State Capital Infrastructure Fund, direct appropriations in the state budget. According to Town Manager Paige Dowling, Mayor Linda Sossamon worked closely with state representatives to secure this money. The line item in the state budget was titled “Town of Sylva Playground Equipment.” At the March 10 meeting of the Sylva Commissioners, the board unanimously approved the expansion of the project to include Bryson Park repairs in addition to Allen Street repairs.
In February, the town announced an additional $750,000 in funding from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. This money came with the stipulation that the town match the funding with money from its own budget, which the town has approved. At the April 21 board meeting the town voted unanimously to amend the Allen Street Project Ordinance to spend $750,000 from the fund balance to cover funds until they are received from the DOT.
“We have the agreement, we just have to spend the money first,” said Dowling. “We spend our match and their money, which we are making our fund balance, and then we request the reimbursement and receive it.”
In March, Rep. Madison Cawthorn presented a check for $200,000 to the Sylva Town Board for Allen Street Repairs. The money came from an appropriations bill Cawthorn had voted against. However, in speaking with board members, the congressman said he had worked to get the money for Sylva’s Allen Street repairs into the bill.
At the April 21 board meeting the town held a public hearing for input on improvements to Bryson Park. The chair of the Jackson County NAACP political action committee, Chris Stabers, presented a list of updates that residents would like at Bryson Park.
“The area residents really want us to create a modern, accessible and multi-generational park,” said Stabers.
Some of the suggestions included extending the roof over the benches and family gathering area, overlaying the basketball court with pickleball lines so it could be used for both, creating benches beside the basketball court, installing exercise stations around the park, replacing all the equipment with brand new equipment, removing the thorny briars on the north side of the park, improving safety on the path down from Allen Street, ensuring adequate lighting, installing a pedestrian path and railing at the Chipper Curve entrance, allowing dogs and providing bag stations at either end of the park, landscaping with native plants and restoring the roses at the park.
Another resident noted that additional seating would be appreciated at the park because oftentimes there is not enough room to have family gatherings in the park.
The town will hold a budget work session Thursday, May 5, and a regular meeting Thursday, May 12.