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Clarksville Marina restroom, office upgrades go forward

SoVaNow.com / February 24, 2021
Plans are moving forward to upgrade restrooms and office space at Clarksville Marina as the town begins negotiations to renew the sublease on the property that the Diamond family has operated for more than 45 years.

Speaking to members of Clarksville Town Council during their Feb. 16 meeting, Town Manager Jeff Jones said he is coordinating with Beth, Scott and David Diamond of Clarksville Marina, county health department officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on revised plans for the office/restroom building, which has been out of compliance with health code standards for more than a decade.

In 2007, then-Council member Glenn Jurczyk shared a health department inspection report that noted a lack of adequate restroom facilities at the marina. No upgrades have been made to the building in the ensuing 14 years.

Under health department regulations, there should be at least four men’s lavatories, three commodes, and two additional urinals, based on the number of boat slips at the marina. The marina has two commodes, one lavatory (sink) and one urinal. The site also has only two commodes for women and one lavatory instead of the minimum required four commodes and four lavatories.

Current regulations now mandate that at least one of those commodes in each bathroom be adapted for handicapped use.

The facility still lacks the requisite number of showers — the state requires a total of four, two for males and two for females.

The preliminary architectural plan that Jones shared with members of Council calls for an upgraded office building that fully complies with health department standards and includes a conference room, office space, and large common area with a coffee bar. The new facility will have three separate restrooms, two with outside access and one inside the building. The interior restroom as well as both exterior facilities will have one stall each that can accommodate persons in a wheelchair or with mobility issues.

Jones did not give a timeline for when the plans would be approved, or when work would begin on the upgrades. He said the plans must first be reviewed by Council’s facilities committee and approved by the full Council before moving forward.

With the sublease on Clarksville Marina set to expire in April, Jones said the Town needs to complete the process of entering into a new sublease.

The land that the Clarksville Marina operates on is currently under a 25-year lease agreement between the Town of Clarksville and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Town, in turn, subleases the property to Clarksville Marina under a 10-year lease agreement.

Jones asked Council to enter into a one-year lease renewal with Clarksville Marina that would use a graduated rate schedule based on total annual gross receipts to fix the lease payment. The agreement will also include a provision that calls for the sub-lessee to pay 100 percent of the monthly debt service from the construction of the marina office and restroom facility, in addition to the standard lease payment.

Jones said this arrangement is similar to the one that exists between Mecklenburg County and the operators of Rudd’s Creek Marina in Boydton, and is used by the Corps of Engineers in their direct lease arrangements.

Jones said the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the Town’s ability to bid out a long-term sublease of the marina. His strategy moving forward calls for the Town to develop a request for proposal (RFP) seeking bids to operate the marina. Bid responses would be due within three months of the issuance of the RFP. Afterward the responses would be evaluated and the contract awarded.

A public hearing on the project, which is necessary before Jones can begin the RFP process, will take place March 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the start of the next monthly meeting of Town Council.

In other business, Jones said Dave McCormack, owner of Waukeshaw Development, the company that is developing the former Planter’s Warehouse site, expects to complete financing on the project in the next 30 to 45 days after which he will finalize plans and permitting for the 40-unit apartment and commercial facility.

Groundbreaking on the Virginia Avenue property that will be called “The Royster” is now set for late spring.

Jones said he is working with the Southside Planning District Commission (SPDC) on funding opportunities for an expansion of the town’s water plant. The upgrade is being done in anticipation of the increased water requirements needed to accommodate a new commercial project at Lakeside Commerce Park.

Much of the land in the commerce park was recently purchased by Microsoft Corporation for a yet-to be named development project. The Lakeside Commerce Park is located off U.S. 58 just east of the Town of Clarksville.

Jones said SPDC grant writers are in the process of applying for a search grant from Virginia Housing and Community Development that would fund a pre-engineering report that must be done before any upgrades are made.

The report will determine the cost and scope of the project, develop a funding plan and include an environmental review. Before the report can be completed the town must issue an RFP for a qualified engineering firm that will be paid from the initial search grant award.

Town streets and facilities suffered some minor problems from the recent ice storms that swept through the area. Intermittent power outages were experienced throughout Clarksville. The lengthiest outage impacted the water booster station and Burlington water storage tank off Highway 15-S.

Fidelity Engineering was contracted to bring in a backup pump that was used to refill the tank, which was nearly depleted of water. The water reserves were fully restored by late afternoon Monday, Feb. 15.

Jones thanked town employees who put in extra hours to man the water plant and remove downed trees from the area during and after the storm.

On a positive note, Jones said it appears that all of the emergency backup generators engaged and worked as needed during the outage.

The Town has issued an invitation to bid for repairs and painting of the exterior of the Town Hall and the interior council chambers. Bid packets are available online or can be picked up at Town Hall. A pre-bid meeting will take place at 10 a.m. on March 3 and bids are due back no later than 3 p.m. March 11.

Mayor Kevin Allgood replaced Mike Sizemore as a member of Council’s budget committee following Sizemore’s resignation from council. Newly appointed member Robert Dennis will take Sizemore’s place on the utilities committee.

Jones announced that the small business grant program, Rebuild! VA has once again pledged all available dollars but there is still just over $300,000 available to qualifying businesses from the Small Business Recovery Assistance Fund. Small businesses looking for grant money to cover COVID pandemic-related costs should contact Sangi Cooper at the Southside Planning District Commission at (434) 447-7101.

Town officials continue to work with Shentel, the cable TV provider for the area, on extension of their franchise agreement. As part of the negotiations, Jones said the Town wants Shentel to extend fiber broadband service to areas annexed into the town, including the Perfect Point subdivision.

An official with Shentel will be addressing Council at the next meeting on March 16.

The Town continues to work with the Southside Health Department to schedule vaccinations for its employees.

Jones said in anticipation of upcoming events, he has submitted a list of dates for possible road closures to VDOT. He added that the events and road closure list is subject to change, depending on the status of the pandemic.

Finally, there will be a public hearing on the town’s FY2022 budget on March 16. A first draft of the proposed budget will be submitted to Town Council at its regular meeting on May 18. A second public hearing is set for June 3 with final approval of the budget set for June 19.

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