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Thursday, April 20,  2006




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VERIZON EMPLOYEES Larry Ratliff and Brad Carter work to reroute phone lines downtown last week as some of the utility work is accomplished in advance of the Rt. 460 road project which is tied to the Grundy Flood Control Project. The edge of the redevelopment site is seen at left. Residents may expect to see much activity on the project in the coming month as road construction, demolition and construction of the ringwall get underway. (Staff photo/Cathy St. Clair.)

Town Project Moves Forward
May 1 Groundbreaking Scheduled for Road, Ringwall

by Cathy St. Clair
News Editor

      A groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of the Rt. 460 road project through Grundy and the start of construction of a ringwall to protect the town of Grundy will be held May 1.
     The joint groundbreaking event will get underway at 11 a.m. on Riverside Drive, behind the former Street Law firm location.
      By the middle of next month, construction is also expected to begin on new buildings on the redevelopment site, with the first structure to be built being the parking building, which will house Wal-Mart on the top level, according to Town Manager Chuck Crabtree.
       "The developer, Commonwealth, is still looking at the middle of May to start the footers to pour the footprint for the buildings," Crabtree said. "The first thing people will see go up is the parking building and the Wal Mart on top of that."
      An early summer ground-breaking is planned on that aspect of the project, however, as of press time, a date for that had not been set.
      Crabtree noted a summer or fall 2007 opening is projected for the new Wal Mart and other tenants who will locate in the new town center. An announcement on who those tenants will be has not yet been made by the developer, however, work to negotiate various leases and contracts was reportedly underway at press time.
    In the meantime, Crosspointe Contracting continues to work on the redevelopment site laying water and sewer lines to feed the new development. That work is on schedule and is expected to be complete by mid-summer.
       Buchanan County Public Service Authority Director Darrell Cantrell noted the PSA has completed the updates it needed to make to the town water supply system to feed the lines on the redevelopment site.
      "It’s in use and ready to be tapped and put to wherever they need it put," Cantrell said.
       A pre-construction conference was held on the road aspect of the project last week, according to Virginia Department of Transportation Public Affairs Officer Brenda Waters. Attendees at the conference, included not only VDOT, but also the road contractor, town representatives and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at newsstands now.  To subscribe to the Mountaineer, call 276-935-2123 today.

Radio Equipment Upgrade Could Streamline Emergency Response Efforts

by Scotty Wampler
Staff Reporter

       Local emergency response agencies may join forces in the near future to streamline communication countywide.
      The Town of Grundy is working toward securing funding from the Department of Homeland Security to upgrade its emergency radio equipment, it was revealed at Town Council’s regular meeting last week.
       “It’s something the state has been working on for some time now,” Town Manager Chuck Crabtree said.
       “With this new system, they want to be able to talk to everybody,” he said, referring to the integrated radio system that will allow all emergency personnel in the county to communicate with ease.
        The effort is part of Homeland Security’s goal to connect first responders in localities statewide. The new radio equipment, valued near $15,000, would be obtained by the town upon its receipt of the grant funds.
        Agencies such as the Grundy Police Department, the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department and E-911 would all use the same radio system, Crabtree said.
     The installation of a new system countywide would also solve radio communication issues the police department has been battling for some time.
        Radio communication for police officers in Grundy has become so unreliable that the issue was brought before Town Council just last month.
        Grundy Police Chief Barney Stiltner told Town Council members that some officers have lost complete contact with dispatch recently.
      Stiltner and another town officer detailed to council members a recent incident where a man suspected of driving under the influence was pulled over to be questioned. Upon questioning, the suspect reached for a handgun that was concealed in his pants.
        The officer, after subduing the suspect, attempted to call for backup, with no success.
        Councilman Bill Stokes suggested last week installing a set schedule to service police radios in order to prevent problems from becoming as prevalent.
        Police radios should be tested at least yearly, he said.
        Crabtree speculated the new radio system would be installed sometime this year, provided the grant money is awarded soon.

For more of the story, see the print edition of the Mountaineer, on sale at newsstands now.  To subscribe to the Mountaineer, call 276-935-2123 today.

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