Current City Projects
Rouss City Hall, located at 15 North Cameron Street, was built in 1901 and houses many City administrative offices (City Manager, City Attorney, Human Resources, Finance, Commissioner of the Revenue, Treasurer, Utilities, Engineering, Information Technology, Purchasing, Communications, Planning, Zoning and Inspections). The last major renovation was completed in 1986 and several major systems in the building need to be updated (i.e. HVAC). Schematics of the proposed renovation were presented to Council at the March 8, 2016 Work Session by the project's architects, Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C. Finalized design plans were presented to City Council at the October 25, 2016 Work Session and approved at the November 8, 2016 regular meeting. Through this renovation, the City hopes to improve customer service by reorganizing office locations, working conditions for employees and technology capabilities.
- January 27, 2017 - Advertise the project for construction bids
- March 10, 2017 - Construction bids due
- No bids were received
- May 5, 2017 - Bid reissued (due date: June 23 at 2:00 pm)
- October 2017 - Begin construction in phases
- 365 calendar days after construction begins - Project completed
- Held a bid opening with staff responsible for reviewing the bids for the City Hall Renovation project at 2 pm on Friday, March 10. Unfortunately, no bids were received. Staff will contact vendors who attended the mandatory pre-bid meeting to obtain more information and begin working on revisions to the bid documents for future reissuance.
- Pre-bid meeting for reissued bid scheduled for May 18 at 11:00 am.
A Public Open House was held on July 19 in Rouss City Hall's 4th floor Exhibit Hall to explain the options and solicit feedback. Click the links below to view the information provided at the open house. City Council discussed the project at the November 8, 2016 Work Session. Both projects were approved at the November 22, 2016 Regular Council Meeting.
Valley Avenue Improvements:
The Valley Avenue Project would complete the sidewalk connectivity between Middle Road and the southern city limit and provide drainage improvements, especially near the intersection with Tevis.
Hope Drive Extension and Tevis Street Realignment:
The proposed Hope Drive Extension Project would extend Hope Drive to Pleasant Valley Road and include the re-alignment of Paper Mill Road. The project would also either re-align Tevis Street with Paper Mill Road (option 1) or provide a cul-de-sac just east of Bradford Court (option 2).
At the Work Session on November 8, City Council requested a detailed breakout of the estimated, long-term monetary benefits that the City will achieve if Option #2 is selected for the Hope Drive extension project. Option #2 would provide for a cul-de-sac on Tevis Street, just past Bradford Court.
The following table summarizes the estimated long-term financial benefits the City will achieve with Option #2 as compared to Option #1. A more detailed explanation of each benefit is also provided.
Construction Cost Savings: The total project cost would be approximately $1.2 million lower if Option #2 is selected because the realigned section of Tevis Street would not be constructed.
Future Stormwater Benefits: If Option #2 is selected, the size of the stormwater management pond that will be constructed adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks can be much larger than in Option #1. This will allow the City to utilize the additional nutrient management credits that will be generated from the larger pond to meet future stormwater regulation requirements related to the Chesapeake Bay initiatives. The estimated cost to build a separate stormwater management pond in another location to obtain the same amount of the additional nutrient credits would be approximately $1.5 million.
Proposed Project Schedule (for both Valley Ave and Hope Dr):
|Begin Right-of-Way Acquisitions||March 2017|
|Utility Relocations||January 2018|
|Begin Construction||December 2018|
The current Winchester Regional Training Center burn building, constructed in the early 1980’s, has reached its life expectancy for firefighter live fire training activities. The building has been deemed non-compliant by the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) as it no longer meets the requirements of NFPA 1001, 1402, and 1403 standards. In addition, the burn building is not considered to be structurally sound due to its age, condition and use. It is no longer considered safe for live fire training activities. The current facility was built by the City of Winchester and was used by both Winchester and Frederick County Fire Departments.
The City was awarded a $480,000 grant by Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) to construct a new burn building. In addition, fire and rescue leadership from Clarke County and Frederick County have provided letters of support for this project although no amount of financial support has been defined at this time. It is anticipated that both entities will contribute financially once the City obtains better cost estimates. Winchester Fire and Rescue staff estimates that an additional amount of $300,000 from the participating jurisdictions will be needed as the cost sharing portion to complete the building bringing the total project to $780,000. The construction of this project will be subject to competitive bidding and the final cost of construction may be less than currently estimated.
According to the grant award letter:
- “The City has until August 31, 2016 to submit a valid building permit and begin construction.”
- “Following such date, the City will have an additional twelve (12) months to complete construction and collect the balance of their award. The project expiration date is marked as August 31, 2017.”
Recently Completed Projects
The demolition of the Winchester Towers building, located at 200 North Cameron Street, will begin on Monday, October 31.
For safety reasons, the travel lanes adjacent to the building will be temporarily modified. One lane of traffic in each direction on East Piccadilly and North Cameron will be maintained throughout the demolition. See map below:
NOTE: Traffic on Cameron and Piccadilly can turn right or left or go straight using the available lanes.
The demolition project will take approximately 12-15 weeks to complete (weather permitting). During this time, to help reduce potential congestion in the area, traffic signal timings will be adjusted to keep traffic moving as efficiently as possible. However, motorists who regularly travel through this intersection may want to consider an alternate route during the demolition process.
A brochure containing this lane closure information will be hand-delivered to surrounding properties the week of October 24.
The City currently maintains 58 traffic signals. While most of the existing traffic signals have been replaced in recent years, some signals are very old and will need to be replaced in the coming years. Since the average cost to replace one traffic signal is approximately $250,000, Public Services completed a traffic signal warrant analysis using the criteria in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to determine if the signals are warranted.
The analysis showed that the existing traffic signals at the following intersections are not necessary. Stop signs will be installed at these intersections to ensure adequate safety due to sight distance limitations. Council approved the removal of the below signals at the August 9, 2016 Regular Meeting:
- S. Loudoun Street at Whitlock Avenue (stop signs on Whitlock only - flashing school zone signs on Loudoun and flashing pedestrian signs will be added)
- S. Loudoun Street at Southwerk Street (all-way stop)
- Weems Lane at Wilson Blvd. (stop sign at Wilson only)
- N. Loudoun Street at Wyck Street (all-way stop)
- Boscawen Street at Washington Street (all-way stop)
- September 15-16:
- Intersection of Weems/Wilson (September 15)
- Intersection of N. Loudoun/Wyck (September 16)
- Signal at Boscawen/Washington Intersection (October 19)
- Signals on S. Loudoun (Southwerk and Whitlock intersections) - to be removed December 21, weather permitting
Improving traffic flow was one of the most important issues for residents in the most recent citizen satisfaction survey (2014) and removal of the signals will help with traffic flow in these areas.
The estimated cost to remove the signals at the first four intersections listed above will be less than $1,000 per intersection and will be completed by Public Works staff. The cost to remove the signal at the intersection of Washington/Boscawen will be approximately $15,000 which includes the cost of installing two new decorative street lights. Funds are available in the FY17 Highway Maintenance operating budget for these costs.
The Town Run Phase II section of the trail was completed and opened to the public on September 27, 2016.
Over the past year, the City has been trying to complete a portion of the Green Circle Trail along East Pall Mall and Town Run. As reported in the August 9, 2016 CitE-News issue, a property through which the City needed access for the trail changed hands and the City discovered an unknown underground storage tank. These issues in addition to winter weather delayed the progress of the trail construction.
The City greatly values transparency and open communication, but staff and elected officials have not been at liberty to discuss the issues due to a request by property owners that the City maintain confidentiality during negotiations. However, now that an agreement has been drafted between the City and the current property owner, City staff gave a comprehensive overview of the project to Council at the August 9 Regular Meeting.
The information provided in the below links will explain in great detail what happened with this project and where the City stands now on completing this portion of the Green Circle Trail:
Agenda items discussed at the August 9, 2016 meeting:
5.4. O-2016-22: First Reading - ORDINANCE TO AUTHORIZE THE CONVEYANCE OF TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT EASEMENTS DESCRIBED IN THE LAND CONTRIBUTION AND DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF WINCHESTER AND TIMOTHY MELLON FOR THE GREEN CIRCLE TRAIL PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
5.5. R-2016-39: Resolution to Authorize the City Manager to Execute the Land Contribution and Development Rights Agreement Between the City of Winchester and Timothy Mellon for the Green Circle Trail Public Improvement Project and Perform All Acts Necessary to Effectuate the Transaction.
This renovation was required to accommodate the additional judges appointed by the State and the corresponding new courtrooms needed. In order to make room, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations (Probation) office and the Commonwealth Attorney's Office was relocated from the Joint Judicial Center to leased office space on Rouss Avenue (between Rouss City Hall and BB&T Bank). Expected completion date: Summer 2016.
Rouss City Hall was built in 1901 and over time, the mortar between the bricks has worn thin. In an effort to improve the safety of the structure and to reduce moisture leaking inside, the City will be repointing the bricks this summer. The project is expected to be completed in October 2016.
In addition, City Hall has not undergone any upgrades since the 1980s. The City also plans to renovate the third and fourth floors to improve customer service and replace the aging HVAC system which caused a major flooding in 2015. The City has selected architectural firm, Reader & Swartz, through a competitive RFP process to provide architectural/interior design services. This project was funded in the FY16 budget.
In 2014, City Council approved several improvements to Meadow Branch Avenue. The project consists of restriping the existing portion of Meadow Branch Avenue (completed in 2015) and building a new extension to connect Merriman's Lane to Buckner Drive and provide access to the new John Kerr Elementary School. A ribbon cutting and official opening of the road is scheduled for June 3 at 2 pm (meet at the entrance behind CVS on Amherst Street).
In October 2014, the City of Winchester purchased the Winchester Towers property with the intention of partnering with a developer to completely renovate the building into a useful and attractive contributor to downtown Winchester. As of April 2016, the City began exploring the option to sell or convey the property to the Economic Development Authority (EDA).
At the July 12, 2016 Regular Meeting, City Council approved Resolution 2016-33 authorizing the City Manager to execute a Letter of Intent with the Winchester Economic Development Authority (EDA) for the purpose of selling 200 N. Cameron Street for $795,000.
Also, during fiscal year 2014, the City of Winchester complied with DHCD’s enterprise zone funding requirement and designated $500,000 to be used for local enterprise zone projects. To date, none of this money has been spent as the EDA's budget has included adequate financial resources to fund all awarded financial incentives since the inception of the City's Enterprise Zone program.
Since the Winchester Towers redevelopment project will be an enterprise zone project, the City has made available up to $400,000 of the available Enterprise Zone funding for the demolition of the Winchester Towers.
On June 6, the City will begin an improvement project that will correct the long-standing flooding problems on Valley Avenue between Southwerk Street and Lambden Avenue. This flooding has occurred often after a large rain event because there is no existing underground storm water drainage system in this area. The estimated cost of the project is $800,000 which is budgeted for in the City's current Capital Improvement Plan. One-half of the cost of the project will be paid for with VDOT revenue sharing funds. The other half will come from the City’s General Fund. Work is scheduled to start on June 6 and be completed before school starts on August 8. Click here for a schematic showing the project's DETOUR ROUTES.
Work on the Handley Boulevard Project will begin Tuesday, May 31 and is expected to be completed before school starts on August 8 (weather permitting). DETOUR ROUTE MAP
City of Winchester’s Portion
The City’s portion of the project between Braddock and Stewart Streets includes:
- sidewalk replacement
- curb and gutter replacement
- street repaving (to be completed before August 8)
- convert the intersection of Handley and Stewart to an all-way stop
Handley Boulevard between Braddock and Stewart will remain open during the work.
Estimated cost of City’s portion: $280,000. This project was planned for in the City's Sidewalk and Street Maintenance Master Plan and was budgeted for during the FY16 budget process (adopted by Council in May 2015).
In an effort to improve pedestrian safety on Cork Street near Indian Alley, the City permanently closed the parking lot entrance from Cork Street at the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and added bus parking. These changes were previously implemented temporarily to test effectiveness before Council decided to make them permanent. Work to make the changes permanent was completed June 1, 2016. In July, the crosswalk and flashing crosswalk sign will be installed.
The City has been working to implement a new public safety communications system for the past ten years. The old, antiquated system that our officers and firefighters had to use was over 20 years old, unreliable, lacked sufficient coverage and put our personnel at risk. The new system is expected to be fully implemented by September 7.
The City is considering the application of a Corridor Enhancement Zoning District along the Fairmont Avenue and N. Loudoun Street.
- May 4, July 27 and August 31, 2016 - Three public open houses were held to gather feedback from the community.
- September 27, 2016 - Information was presented to City Council at the Work Session and Council decided to table the item for further discussion.
- October 11, 2016 - The item was brought back to the next Work Session for discussion and Council forwarded the item to the next Regular Council Meeting to begin the voting process.
- October 25, 2016 - Council held the first reading of the ordinance.
- November 8, 2016 - Second reading and public hearing for this item will be held prior to Council's final vote.
What is the Corridor Enhancement (CE) District?
- The CE District is a newly adopted Zoning Overlay District that is intended to protect and promote major tourist access routes in the city.
- This Zoning Overlay District sets provisions for building aesthetics and site features; it does not change the underlying zoning that regulates land use.
- CE provisions are a mixture of standards and recommended guidelines.
- Examples of CE standards include:
- Building Orientation
- Roof Treatments
- Wall Treatments
- Placement of Mechanical Units
White Paper: Corridor Enhancement Districts Explained
Open Houses and Information
The first public information meeting was held on May 4 and staff provided an overview of the proposed district. Click here for the presentation.
The second PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE was held on July 27. Click here to view the presentation.
Additional information may be obtained from the Planning Department located on the 3rd Floor of Rouss City Hall, 15 N. Cameron Street or online.
Beginning October 27, Braddock Autopark will be undergoing several capital and structural repairs as part of the Winchester Parking Authority's annual maintenance plan for the Authority's four downtown parking garages. Work will take place Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm and be completed by November 18 (weather permitting) or by Thanksgiving at the latest. Monthly space renters will have access to the garage, but due to the need to close some sections during repairs, hourly customers are encouraged to use an alternate parking option during the month of November.
Other parking options in downtown Winchester include: Loudoun Autopark, George Washington Autopark, Court Square Autopark, several public parking lots, and metered street parking.
For more information about parking in downtown Winchester, please visit the Winchester Parking Authority website.