Monday, February 26, 2024

Leland looks to spend nearly $1 million to improve walkability on Village Road

Leland's town Council will soon vote to approve the option to make an offer to acquire two properties adjacent to its municipal campus, totaling $990,000. The cost of acquisition is not included in the town's approved $8.2 million Municipal Campus Master Plan.

LELAND—Leland may soon be one step closer to providing a more walkable town.

Last year, Leland’s Council approved a Municipal Campus Master Plan that included over $8.2 million in improvements to the town’s campus, including making the area more pedestrian friendly. The town currently owns 16.4 acres between Village Road and Town Hall Drive and is aiming to acquire an additional 4.19 acres.

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Town Council will vote to make an offer on two properties, 423 and 427 Village Road, on June 21. Both properties were appraised by the town last year, together totaling $990,000.

Adjacent to the town’s existing campus, both properties are privately owned. Niel Brooks, assistant town manager, said extending the existing path that currently stops at the campus’ edge is the highest priority.

“No matter what happens, we’re going to have to do something to get those paths built in,” Brooks said. “It’s been on the books for a long time.”

The plan

Leland’s $8.2 million Municipal Campus Master Plan includes:

  • the construction of a 10-foot wide multi-use path
  • covered amphitheater
  • splash pad
  • dog park
  • restaurant building
  • picnic shelters
  • Veterans’ Memorial
  • expanded playground
  • fitness stations
  • outdoor basketball courts
  • an expanded community garden
  • municipal services building
  • expanded parking

The acquisition of 423 and 427 Village Road for $990,000 was not included in the $8.2 million total estimated for the master plan’s improvements.

Brooks said if Council approves staff’s recommendation to make an offer on the properties, the funding would need to come out of the town’s budget.

“What staff is recommending effectively is that we go ahead and acquire,” Brooks said.

With the properties appraised at $497,000 and $494,000, Brooks noted that the cost to acquire would not be cheap.

“It’s pretty high,” he said. “With the growth that we’ve had around here and a lot of the projects we’ve had in this part of town, we’ve been raising the value in the market.” 

Building a more walkable community with preserved greenspace is a top priority for town staff and residents, according to Brooks, who said this option to acquire the Village Road properties is a move in the right direction.

This gets the ball rolling,” Brooks said. “The impetus for the whole project is certainly walkability.”

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