Council votes to spend $2.1 million from economic development fund to jumpstart Hillsdale Drive
By Connie Chang & Sean Tubbs
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Charlottesville City Council
has voted to transfer $2.1 million from the City’s strategic investment reserve to the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority (CEDA) in order to begin construction of the first phase of
Hillsdale Drive Extended
. The management of the project’s funds will be handled by CEDA. Costs beyond that limit must be covered by the developer of the new
, slated to be constructed at the corner of Hydraulic Road and the future Hillsdale Drive. The developer of the new Whole Foods, Meadowbrook Creek LLC, has agreed to construct the first phase of Hillsdale Drive.
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Council’s vote came during their meeting on August 17, 2009. According to Aubrey Watts, Charlottesville’s Director of Economic Development, there is a potential gain for the City to develop the land across from Whole Foods, which he said would expand the City’s tax base.
The funding will go to cover right-of-way, utility easements, final design and construction of the first segment. Approval of this funding will allow for construction of this first phase to begin immediately with a project completion date in 2010.
Watts said the City is expecting the investment to be paid back in six years through increased sales taxes, though he noted the payback time could be quicker if potential development is carried out surrounding the site. The Hillsdale Drive project has already received design funding from the state, and this $2.1 million will be used specifically on other improvements needed on Hydraulic Road such as upgraded turn signals and enhanced turn lanes.
However, the construction of the rest of Hillsdale Drive Extended will depend on the community finding additional transportation funds. There will be no state funds available for the project until at least FY2015. The Virginia Department of Transportation estimates that right of way purchase will cost at least $18.6 million and construction will cost around $8.8 million.