Note: This article first appeared in the Dec. 19 Radford News Journal.
RADFORD — Funding to complete a bronze statue of Mary Draper Ingles was approved on a split vote by Radford City Council Monday.
Council approved the expenditure of $32,000 to complete the statue, which will be placed near Glencoe Museum.
A fundraising committee organized by the Radford Heritage Foundation raised $63,602. According to city spokeswoman Jenni Wilder, the total project costs $96,000: $75,000 for the statue and $21,000 for engineering design and site work.
The vote passed 3-to-2, with Mayor Dr. Bruce Brown, Dr. Richard Harshberger and Bob Nicholson voting for it, and Vice Mayor Keith Marshall and Michael Turk voting against it.
Marshall said he would like to see the project considered during the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, not funded through an appropriation ordinance of unbudgeted funds.
“Let’s see if we can afford it and budget for it if that’s the way we want to go,” he said.
Brown pointed out a discount being offered by the sculptor Matt Langford, but only for a limited time due to the deterioration of the mold used to cast the statue, made the appropriation time sensitive. A citizen committee has raised $63,602 in grants and donations for the project since 2010. The full planned project includes an amphitheater and a railroad viewing platform, but those portions of the project are still not funded. The project is being constructed on land donated to the city by Norfolk Southern.
Langford said he wants to erect a statute at the beginning, middle and end of Ingles’ journey. A cast of the same statue Radford will receive stands outside the Boone County Public Library in Burlington, Kentucky, which lies along Ingles’ route. A small monument dedicated to Ingles is located in West End Cemetery in Radford.
Council was also split on its vote to pass a change to the zoning ordinance. The change was recommended by the Radford Planning Commission and will allow increased residential units in B-1 and B-2 limited business areas. The change allows more apartments/housing units above or below the main commercial floor of a building in those districts, but will still require a special-use permit. B-1 and B-2 zones are found in neighborhood areas, where small neighborhood stores, services and other small businesses are located.
Brown, Nicholson and Harshberger voted in favor of the ordinance, while Marshall and Turk voted against it, citing concerns that the city already has too many rental units.
Also during Monday’s meeting, council voted unanimously to name the traffic circle on Sundell Drive after the late William “Bill” Armentrout. The traffic circle will be called Armentrout Circle. A dedication ceremony is tentatively scheduled for spring, Wilder said.
Council also approved a trial agreement for the Town of Christiansburg for all Radford residents with a Radford Recreation Center card to use the Christiansburg Aquatic Center free of charge. The city will pay $6,000 to Christiansburg for the six-month period.
“I’m tickled the citizens of Radford will have an opportunity to use this facility,” said Brown.
City Council’s next scheduled meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11. The Monday, Dec. 28 meeting was canceled due to the holidays.