Arches or no for new Salem Creek Connector?
UPDATE: The board of directors for the Creative Corridors Coalition met today. Executive Director Russell DuBois said he has no comment on what was discussed.
ORIGINAL POST: A story in YES! Weekly this week reports that the estimated cost of the proposed Twin Arches, described as a "focal point" of the future Salem Creek Connector, in the low bid submitted by Blythe Construction came in higher than expected.
The estimated cost of the feature is $3.5 million. Mayor Allen Joines said today that the original estimate had been about $2 million. The federal government is kicking in 80 percent of the cost of what the NC Department of Transportation calls "betterments" — landscaping enhancements that make the roadway more aesthetically appealing and enticing to pedestrians. The city and the non-profit Creative Corridors Coalition will each pay 10 percent of the remainder.
But funding for the Twin Arches will have to come entirely from private donors, which requires project leaders to make the big ask to philanthropists and foundations in the city that face competing demands from food pantries, homeless shelters and after-school programs.
The Creative Corridors Coalition has emphasized the arches as a signature part of the Salem Creek Connector project, only one roadway in the larger footprint that is the focus of a collaboration among the nonprofit, the city and the NC Department of Transportation.
Randall Tuttle, board chairman of the coalition, characterized the unveiling of the designs for the Twin Arches in an October guest editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal as "more than a milestone achievement for the organization," and "the first step in a community-wide, public/private partnership that will brand our city and create an inspiring new gateway.
"For pennies on the dollar," the editorial argued, "our city can create an iconic parkway and spectacular monument representing our City of Arts and Innovation."
Tuttle and many other members of the board could not be reached today for comment on the status of the project.
Joines, who as mayor serves as a non-voting member of the coalition board, expressed optimism about prospects for completion.
"I've heard there's some value engineering that could possibly be done to still do the arches," he said.
Another rendering depicts the Salem Creek Connector and US Highway 52 interchange with landscaping "betterments" and the Twin Arches.