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Martinsburg mayor: Raleigh Street Extension project could be done by next week

August 15, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg Mayor George Karos said Thursday he expects the Raleigh Street Extension construction project to be completed within a week.

“As of 6:15 p.m. they were still working ...” Karos said at Martinsburg City Council’s regular monthly meeting.

The mayor said the city is waiting to hear from the state Division of Highways regarding the completion and opening of the 1.2-mile connector between West Race Street and Edwin Miller Boulevard.

State transportation officials had said the approximately $38 million project was slated to be substantially completed by today after inclement weather delayed completion from an earlier date this month.

Karos said a ceremony would be held to commemorate the project’s completion, but did not announce a date.

In other business Thursday, the council voted unanimously to give city employees a cost-of-living raise and the opportunity for merit pay increases.

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Employees will receive a 1 percent cost-of-living pay increase that will be made retroactive to July 1.

A 2 percent average merit pay hike also was approved. The raises, along with benefits, were projected to cost the city more than $265,000.

City leaders also were told that a long-term plan and goal for the city’s urban tree canopy could be done by this fall. Frank Rodgers of the Cacapon Institute said Martinsburg stands to become the first city in the state to complete both a long-term tree canopy plan and goal and an i-Tree Streets inventory.

The urban tree canopy is the area of leaves and branches that, when viewed from above, covers the ground.

Based on preliminary estimates, Rodgers said it appears the city’s tree canopy is a little more than 30 percent.

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