Lewisville nears decision on manager

Published 12:22 am Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Town receives PARTF Grant for park improvements

While the search for a new town manager nears a conclusion, the Lewisville Town Council provided positive news regarding receiving a PARTF Grant for improvements to Jack Warren Park and possible additional funding for the delayed Gateway Project in last Thursday night’s meeting.
The council held another special called meeting the night before with “in person” interviews and had a closed session the next night after the council meeting to review their notes and discuss the final applicants.
After earlier retaining the services of the Piedmont Triad Regional Council to assist in the town’s search for a new manager to replace Hank Perkins, who resigned in April and departed in late May, Mayor Mike Horn said “we are getting close,” adding he expected one of the three “top-shelf” candidates that were interviewed to get the job.
“We just have to make sure that we are clear on the priorities we have,” Horn commented, saying last Thursday “we probably will not be in position to announce a new manager for at least a week or so.”
Following the regular monthly council meeting Aug. 11, the board called for a special meeting related to the search for a new manager Aug. 17 to review the applications with the PTRC, which accepted and screened the applications, and narrow it down to the top candidates.
That resulted in two more special called meetings the next week — on Aug. 22 and Aug. 25 — for a series of short interviews prior to last Wednesday night’s more extensive interviews with the finalists.
Meanwhile, Stacy Tolbert, the town planner who has been serving as the interim manager, announced that Lewisville was awarded a 2022 PARTF grant in the amount of $230,940 from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund for improvements at Jack Warren Park. The total cost of $481,125 includes a $250,185 local match.
The project elements include a nature trail (including trail preparation, pavement of connector path and a new sidewalk), an 18-hole disc golf course and outdoor event space (small amphitheater-style space).
“Kudos to Ms. Tolbert,” said council member Ken Sadler of her work on the project, which included six public involvement meetings to gain support and interest from residents. Information also was gathered from a parks/recreation survey that was done in 2020.
“There were many ideas of residents, but we narrowed it down to the top 10,” Tolbert said. “At the last public meeting held at the Mary Alice Warren Community Center participants were allowed to vote on their top three choices. That is how we decided on which improvements to include in the grant application.”
Tolbert added that the town was awaiting the official letter regarding the grant from the governor’s office with directions on moving forward in the process.
Also in last Thursday night’s meeting, Tolbert did an overview presentation on the Gateway Project. She reported that Lewisville finally received bids in August for the long-delayed project (because of no bids over the last couple of years).
However, the bids came in well over budget that was originally projected to be in $1.5 million range for a project that is highlighted by the widening of Williams Road and implementing a complete street design from the roundabout at Concord Church Road south of the bridge over U.S. 421 to the roundabout at Shallowford Road.
Tolbert said that the town has requested additional funding from the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) reserves to help fill the gap, and the council came to a consensus to continue the project contingent on receiving the additional funding, which amounts to $1,687,463.
Here is the breakdown on the numbers:
Original estimate of project in 2016: $1,494,680
Apparent low bid: $2,848,572 (Branch Civil, Inc.)
Budget shortfall: $2,208,737
Supplemental funding from MPO reserve: $1,687,463
Remaining out of pocket expenses for town: estimated at $522,000
And once again, the item involving the Lewisville Rural Overlay (UDO L-167) was continued — this time to the November meeting.
It was originally scheduled to be on the agenda for last Thursday’s meeting, but Tolbert said that after it was sent back to the planning board again, the board was unable to hold a public hearing in its August meeting, forcing another continuance.
In May, the planning board held a public hearing on the draft to amend the UDO section related to the Lewisville Rural Overlay (LRO) and Planned Residential Developments (PRD). The planning board recommended approval to the council, which held a public hearing, but the council then decided to continue the public hearing 60 days until the August meeting, after a motion by Horn, “because we want to do a little more work on the changes to some of the language.”
That included conversations on requiring open space and deliberations that Tolbert said provided better recommendations for the council to consider while allowing time to make sure residents are notified of what’s coming up.
She said that another 60-day continuance made sense to allow more time to get it right.
“We’re still at the drawing board,” Tolbert said. “They’re doing their due diligence with research, with talking with experts in the field about development about the things that we’re facing in our rural areas, how our planned residential developments work and what can make them better for the town.”