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by Jeff Sykes

Items from across the Triad and beyond

FORSYTH ROAD PROJECTS PRIORITIZED

Two major road projects in Forsyth County have been listed in Gov. Pat McCrory’s transportation improvement program””a 10-year plan that is projected to fund 478 highway projects and create 300,000 new jobs. The plan is contingent on the General Assembly’s approval of the $1 billion bond package McCrory has put forth.

Included in the plan would be the first three sections of I-74, the eastern half of what is to become the Winston- Salem Beltway. It also covers part of the cost of improvements to a one-mile stretch of Business 40 between the Fourth Street bridge and the Church Street bridge. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 at a cost between $66 million and $74 million.

State and local officials broke ground for I-74 on November 14. The first section will stretch four miles from Business 40 in Kernersville to US 158. Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2018.

“It’s within eyesight,” McCrory told reporters at the groundbreaking. “We can see it happening, and I still need to get this $1 billion bond passed so we can start speeding up this project as quick as possible and that’s my next immediate goal.”

Prior to the state transportation plan, Forsyth County’s road projects had become notorious for being passed over, due to the legislature’s passage of House Bill 817

during the Summer 2013 session. The bill put in place a new mobility formula that funded projects according to factors like accessibility, cost, congestion and safety. McCrory has said on several occasions that he intends to “take the politics out” of the funding process.

ATTENDANCE, REVENUE DOWN AT ICRCM

Attendance and revenue at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum continued to sag in the last two months, according to statistics presented to the museum’s board in mid-November.

Visits to the museum are at near all-time lows for three straight months, with only an anomaly of 1,554 visits in Sept. 2013 undercutting the attendance levels at the museum this fall.

Revenues are also at historically low levels, with the museum bringing in barely half of last year’s October receipts, and about 70 percent in November.

The attendance and revenue figures were part of materials disseminated at the civil right’s museum’s Nov. 17 board of director’s meeting.

The statistical comparison presented at the meeting shows that 2,037 people visited the museum in September, with a calendar-year low 1,958 in October, followed by 2,048 in November.

Museum revenues for the same period fell sharply as well. September receipts came in at $14,327, a low for 2014, followed by $15,550 in October. The museum saw $14,513 in November revenue. The historic low for monthly revenue was $12,739 in Sept. 2013.

The ICRCM appears on pace for record lows in both attendance and revenues. Just 43,686 visitors entered the museum so far in 2014, earning revenues of $310,391. With a month left in the calendar year, it appears unlikely that the museum will avoid previous lows of 53,081 visitors in 2011 and $385,192 in 2012 revenue. !

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