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Loan needed for revitalization work in Charles Town

May 28, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Charles Town city officials had to borrow about $400,000 from the Bank of Charles Town to help pay for a downtown revitalization project that is now expected to cost $7.1 million.

City officials had to borrow the money because bids for the work were higher than expected, said Charles Town City Council member Matt Ward.

There were a couple of ways city officials were able to address the rising costs in addition to borrowing the money, Ward said.

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First, Charles Town City Manager Jane Arnett was able to reduce some of the project's cost through negotiations with the contractor, Ward said.

Second, the city was given authorization to shift $200,000 in federal funds from the so-called "Gateway Project" to help offset the costs, Ward said.

The gateway project, which received $450,000 in federal funding, involves improving the eastern entrance to Charles Town along Washington Street.

The $400,000 loan will be paid through various budgeted sources, Ward said.

The revitalization project involves replacing crumbling sidewalks downtown and installing new streetlights, parking meters and trees.

The work also involves replacing central water lines to correct a problem of low water pressure, city officials say.

The project was originally estimated to cost about $5.5 million, Ward said.

Construction crews are installing the new sidewalk and street lights on the northern side of Washington Street.

Workers built wooden walkways to businesses so patrons could reach the stores while the old sidewalks were removed.

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