Durham’s proposed budget highlights public safety, disinvested neighborhood improvements

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

The City of Durham is considering a proposed CIP budget with $306.2 million for new projects and will continue to complete existing projects. Funding is included for $84.7 million in general CIP projects that were deemed a priority and essential to the capital infrastructure needs, and an additional $17 million designated through the Equitable and Green Infrastructure process.

More than 20 projects will provide enhanced and equitable green spaces at parks in disinvested neighborhoods as well as fund water quality projects, new sidewalks in Bragtown, East Durham, and Merrick-Moore communities, and pedestrian safety, access, and traffic calming projects.

Since street conditions continue to be a significant concern for residents responding to the 2022 Resident Satisfaction Survey, the proposed budget has $15 million for street paving and maintenance.

There is an additional $204.7 million of CIP funding dedicated to Water and Sewer, Stormwater, and Solid Waste projects. A $2.20 monthly increase for Tier 2 water and sewer customers, and a $1.55 monthly increase for Tier 2 stormwater customers are also included.

In her budget presentation May 15, City Manager Wanda Page also shared more about Forever Home, Durham, the city’s $160 million program to create affordable opportunities for renters and homeowners as well as to stabilize neighborhoods. Three completed affordable housing projects thus far have added 339 units, and four other projects with an additional 88 units have either started or are in construction. The City has also either awarded or committed $42.5 million to create or preserve 1,036 units.

Funding is also included to enhance the Fayetteville Street corridor. The proposed budget includes $10 million to help create a sense of place for this historic area. This funding will support a variety of efforts, including residential and commercial real estate programs, small business support, and street, sidewalk, and landscape improvements.

The proposed spending plan includes hiring a transportation planner to implement the Vision Zero Durham program, which is designed to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. Additionally, funding is provided for a transportation planner to help with bus route planning, schedule creation, program development, equitable community engagement coordination, and the Way to Go Durham program, which works to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips.

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, June 5, at 7 p.m. with final budget approval set for June 20, at 7 p.m. To review the entire proposed budget, visit the city’s Budget and Management Services Department webpage.

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