The individual has been located and identified. No crime took place. There is no need for public concern.
On the afternoon of May 5, Prince William police received a call at Creekbranch Way and Legend Drive in Gainesville to investigate a suspicious individual.
According to Prince William police, a 17-year old female juvenile told officers that she was walking in the area, when the individual approached her from behind. The man reportedly touched her arm and spoke with her briefly before leaving the scene in a red Dodge Ram pickup truck.
The Prince William police stated that the man was not forceful and did not attempt to harm the female.
They are seeking to identify this individual, and ask that anyone with information call 703-792-6500.
He is described as a Hispanic male, between 28 and 32, 5’5”, and 180 pounds with short black hair and an unshaven face.
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Early yesterday evening, Prince William fire and rescue were called to a fire at a home on Adirondack Court in Gainesville.
According to Prince William fire and rescue, when crews arrived, they saw a fire burning through the roof of the residence.
When crews began to deal with the fire, the flames engulfed the second floor, causing some of the floor to collapse. Firefighters were able to continue to put out the fire, said Prince William fire and rescue.
No one was injured.
The Red Cross was on the scene of the fire to help two adults that were displaced.
A building official has deemed the property unsafe. The Fire Marshal’s Office stated that the fire was caused by a lightning strike, and has been deemed as natural.
Three new stations part of VRE extension plan
More than five years ago, many on the Haymarket Town Council wanted nothing to do with a planned westward expansion of Virginia Railway Express.
Then town leaders feared the traffic congestion a new VRE station could bring to the town.
Now, the town council appears to be on board with the idea of commuter rail to the tiny town.
“We’re excited about a study that will tell us more about the prospect of VRE coming out to Haymarket. We’ve had councils, in the past, that weren’t too excited, but this new council is looking forward to having VRE come here,” said Haymarket Mayor David Leake.
The process of getting VRE to Haymarket and Gainesville, both in the western portion of Prince William County, took a big step forward. The commuter railroad approved $4 million to pay AECOM Technical Services, Inc. to conduct a planning and engineering study of the planned project.
At least three new stations would be added as part of the extension — at Sudley Manor Drive, Gainesville, and in Haymarket. A fourth station at Prince William Innovation Park — home to the George Mason University Science and Technology Campus — has also been discussed.
If service is extended, the new rail line would be an extension of VRE’s Manassas line. It would run on Norfolk Southern railroad’s “B” line, which branches off from its main line at Wellington Road in Manassas. The “B” line runs parallel to Wellington Road, crosses underneath Sudley Manor Drive and then continues west underneath Prince William Parkway into Gainesville and Haymarket.
Trains headed west from Washington to Haymarket would service the train station in Downtown Manassas but not the Broad Run station at Manassas Regional Airport, as Manassas line trains do today.
Today, the “B” line is used by freight trains. Those trains would continue to use the line alongside VRE trains. A new bridge that carries cars on Route 28 over Wellington Road in Manassas was built wide enough to accommodate a second set of railroad tracks that could be built as part of VRE’s westward expansion.
Prince William County taxpayers continue to be one of the transit system largest funding sources. Officials like the idea of expanding a popular commuter rail system with a major presence in their backyard.
“I think this would be a great step forward for the Brenstville District,” said district supervisor Jeanine Lawson. “It’s the ideal transportation solution to the traffic congestion we have on I-66.”
Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland said riders that have embraced using VRE had helped to decrease the number of cars on I-66. He vows to work with other local officials, as well as residents, to gather input on the project.
“Tere are obviously a myriad of challenges that exist with such projects, including traversing wetland areas, impacts on existing communities, traffic and parking issues at a station, and the disruption on the quality of life for homeowners that would potentially be negatively impacted by the construction of a VRE extension in their community,” said Candland.
The planning and engineering phases of the project are slated to last through the end of 2017. Final design of the new phase is expected two years later. If construction were to begin in 2021, the expansion could open the following year, according to VRE spokesman Bryan Jungwirth.
Founded in 1992, VRE is Virginia’s only commuter rail system. It carries nearly 20,000 average daily riders on its two lines – Manassas to Washington and Fredericksburg to Washington.
The Prince William Public Library Foundation, an area non-profit, has awarded the Prince William library system more then $14,000 to fund two new programs.
The first program, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, is a national early literacy program. The program provides books and ways to incorporate reading into a family routine. With the Library Foundation’s full funding of the program, around 2,000 preschoolers will be able to participate within the first year, said a release.
The second program coming to the Prince William public library system is the introduction of Apple iPads for use with electronic reading apps. All of the county’s libraries, including the upcoming Haymarket Gainesville and Montclair Community libraries, will be equipped with the iPads.
In addition to the reading apps, librarians will be able to instruct residents on how to use the device, and use them as tools during other program activities at the libraries, said a release.
“We are overjoyed with the Foundation’s leadership in funding two indispensable programs such as early literacy and electronic assistance. I can’t thank Bryanna [Altman, Foundation Board President] and the rest of the Board enough for their continued support,” commented Connie Gilman, the Prince William Public Library System director.
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In the next few months, a brewery and a distillery will open their doors in Prince William County.
Growling Bear Brewery
The microbrewery, Growling Bear Brewery, will be located at 14051 Crown Court in Woodbridge. The owners plan to open in the beginning of July.
According to the brewery owner, Mike Blivens, the idea to open the brewery came from his own experience with brewing at home.
“I’ve been a home brewer since 1998. I kind of got sick of my corporate job and figured I was going to go into something where I would enjoy going into work that I have a passion for,” said Blivens.
Growling Bear will offer 12 craft beers that are made on site, using equipment shipped over from Germany.
Blivens said that they plan to offer 4 core beers that they carry year round, 4 seasonal beers and 4 experimental beers.
“We are going to specialize in dark beers, and try to have at least four dark beers on tap all year long. A lot of breweries don’t do that for some reason – people stay away from dark beers until wintertime. But we tend to see that a little differently,” commented Blivens.
The brewery will offer a small menu, and they will be looking to have different food trucks come to the site during the weekends for customers looking to have some food with their beverages.
MurLarkey Distilled Spirits
On 7961 Gainsford Court in Bristow, co-owner Tom Murray is opening MurLarkey Distilled Spirits that will open its doors this month.
The distillery is located in the former Ferguson Electric building just off Wellington Road.
For Murray, the thought of opening up a local distillery was one that he had for a long time.
“I’m a former technology executive. My cousin and I founded the company [for the distillery] in 2013…it’s something that we’ve always been interested in…and it’s something we’ve been considering for a while,” said Murray.
At the distillery, they will be making hand-crafted vodka, as well as three varieties of infused whiskeys.
“We are using some traditional recipes that our grandparents brought over from Ireland,” Murray said.
Murray stated that while there is currently no ability to serve food, they would be working to do so in the future. There will also be a tasting area and special events on site.
More on the way
Growling Bear Brewery will encompass 2,150 square feet of space inside the Prince William Commons business park near BJs wholesale club.
Mularkey Distilled Spirits will have 4,322 square feet of space when it opens.
In Woodbridge, county records show a Hard Times Café located in the Potomac Festival shopping center across from Potomac Mills mall applied for county permits to become Ornery Beer Company Public House. That’s a change from its usual fare of chili macs and billiards.
The new breweries and distilleries join similar businesses in Manassas that opened their doors for the first time or expanded their operation. BadWolf Brewery chose to expand in Manassas after Prince William County officials halted a possible expansion at the Tackett’s Mill Center in Lake Ridge due to rules on still on the books last fall.
County officials later changed their rules to allow craft breweries and distilleries to open in popular shopping centers.
Dallas-based La Madeleine is bringing its country French bistro and bakery fare to Gainesville.
The Virginia Department of Transportation will close the historic Aden Road bridge over Norfolk Southern Railroad Friday, after an inspection has revealed further deterioration of the 132-year-old structure. Read more at Bristow Beat.
Dozens of Prince William County residents occupied the seats of Patriot High School’s auditorium Tuesday night for the Brentsville District Public Safety Town Hall Meeting. Read more on Bristow Beat.
The field of candidates for local elections in Prince William County is getting smaller.
Republicans held their “firehouse primary” in Prince William County on Saturday. The results of those races tell us which member of the GOP will go on to face their Democratic challengers in the November General Election.
Voting in the firehouse primary took place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at various locations across the county. The firehouse primary was held instead of a traditional primary on June 9 due to paperwork filing error on the part of the Prince William County Republican Party.
The results of the 2015 Prince William County Republican Firehouse Primary: (more…)
The new 168,000-square foot shipping hub under construction is now under construction and will be located at 7303 Cushing Road, just off Balls Ford Road and Interstate 66 near Gainesville.
When completed, standing at 35 feet tall, the center will represent a win for county economic development officials who have courted several logistics companies in an effort to lure them to the region.
“The Board of Supervisors made logistics a target industry for us, and since that time we’ve met with several industries to talk about the advantages of locating here,” said Prince William County Economic Development Director Jeffery Kaczmarek.
One of the reasons why the county is so desirable for shipping and transport companies – it’s access to both Interstate 66 and 95. FedEx will join several other logistics companies just off I-66 near Gainesville, including U.S. Foods and Martin Bower, which delivers foods to restaurants like McDonalds.
The new FedEx facility will be built as a shell building. When complete, FedEx will hire a contractor to come and complete the interior of the facility with the installation of shelving and conveyor belts, said Prince William County Development Services Director Wade Hugh
Hugh’s office is in charge of greenlighting building permits for projects like the FedEx facility. Work on the site began in November with an “early grading” permit that allowed crews to begin clearing trees and making roadway access to the site via Cushing Road while the remainder of the permits were still being approved.
In all, it can take up to four months to approve a project like this.
“They want to be up and ready to go before the Christmas shipping season starts,” added Hugh.
Some small road improvements to Balls Ford Road were proffered by the developer, to include the addition of a deceleration lane at Balls Ford and Cushing roads. Cushing Road recently saw the addition of a new commuter lot that provides drivers’ access to I-66, so the area around Balls Ford Road is growing.
“It appears, talking with the clients that we work with, that there is major capacity with existing [roadway] system. But if we’re going to continue to grow, the county road system needs to keep pace with that,” added Kaczmarek.
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Starting May 1, the Manassas Museum will debut their newest exhibit on the fire, rescue and police equipment used in the community.
The museum will be hosting a reception at 6 p.m. and serve refreshments to residents looking to learn more about public safety history in the City of Manassas.
One of the unique highlights of the exhibit is the fact that back in the 1960s, responders in a hearse answered emergency response calls.
Before the first public safety group, the Manassas Volunteer Rescue Squad, was created in 1966, it was the Baker Funeral Home that would bring patients for medical treatment and respond to emergency scenes.
Manassas didn’t see a modernized police and fire department structure until the 1950s, and relied on mainly volunteer services.
This exhibit, which displays the evolution of Manassas and its public safety organizations, coincides with the World Police and Fire Games, which are being hosted in Prince William County this summer.
“Our Fire, Rescue and Police personnel run into a building when others run out,” said Mayor Harry J. Parrish II. “It is that courage and compassion for others that helps keep this City safe and well protected.”
The Manassas Museum will showcase the exhibit until July 15.
“I hope visitors and residents will come out for this exhibit. Our Police, and Fire and Rescue staff are top in their field and our volunteers are some of the most dedicated people I’ve met,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate.
So much has changed in Prince William County in just the past 10 years, that the Prince William County Committee of 100 came together April 16 at the Montclair Country Club to discuss what the future of the county may look like and what it may need to succeed.
The Prince William County Committee of 100 holds regular non-partisan, educational forums to study interests, problems and goals of the citizens of Prince William County, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. It has been functioning for more than 25 years.
“The rapid growth in Prince William County over the past decade has presented enormous challenges in overcrowded classrooms, efficient commuter traffic patterns, shortages of public amenities and over-stressed public safety resources,” read a description of the forum on the committee’s web page. “Jobs and housing are the two drivers of the future economy in Prince William County. The current economic conditions threaten growth in quality jobs, housing values and expanding business opportunities. The future for Prince William County will, in large measure, be determined by how Prince William County adapts its policies to protect the future of our community.”
The panelists were Robert Buchanan, Principle of Buchanan Partners LLC and President of the 2030 Group; Dr. Terry L. Clower, Northern Virginia Chair and Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University; G. Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission; and Ralph Stephenson, Chairman and Co-Founder of Citizens for Balanced Growth.
Brendon Shaw, director of government relations for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, served as moderator.
Each panelist gave their take on the future of Prince William County — what it may look like and what it will need. At one point, a joke was made that more Millennials should have been invited.
One focus of the discussion was the trend of Millennials moving back into cities instead of expanding into the suburbs as previous generations have. Gibb said a “demographic inversion” is underway. For the last 50 years the region saw the people moved out of the cities to suburbia but is now seeing a population shift toward the Beltway.
If you want people to come to Prince William County, then you have to develop areas that they want to come to, Gibb remarked. “Do you want to [be] a suburban area or be more like an area that provides amenities for these new Millennials?”
Clower told the group the county needs balance, and balance comes through planning. He said land-use plans need to tie into the region’s economic development strategies, which in turn need to tie into the transportation strategies.
“That can put you ahead of the game,” said Clower. “Economic development is a process… It doesn’t ever stop.”
The next meeting will be held the evening of May 21 at the Wyndham Garden in Manassas. Visit PWC100.org for more details.
The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will approve the final budget and tax rate tomorrow, April 21, at their regularly scheduled meeting.
The approved budget will now include $1 million allocated specifically for reducing class sizes in Prince William County Public Schools.
As the budget period for the Prince William County Board of Supervisors comes to a close, Supervisors Candland and Lawson took the opportunity to speak on their own budget draft with a 2.5% tax increase. In March, the board announced their advertised ceiling tax rate increase of 3.88%, and the difference between the 2.5% and the 3.88% is about $14.6 million.
Budget draft to address school overcrowding
Lawson and Candland stated their draft of the 2016 budget is focused on a plan to address overcrowding in county public schools.
The budget draft would invest county funds into reducing class sizes over the next five years, drawing funding from the Recordation Tax revenue. Under the original proposal given by Candland and Lawson, the board would invest $30 million over the 5-year period, starting with $2 million in 2016. The board decided to halve this amount – giving $1 million – and requiring the school board to match the funds.
Virginia charges a tax on the recordation of deeds, deeds of trust, mortgages, leases, and contracts, which provide the funding source Candland referenced. Currently, the Recordation Tax in the county’s budget goes toward paying for transportation projects and other small line items in the budget, stated a release. (more…)
The Boy Scouts of America are hosting the National Capital Area Sporting Clays Tournament on May 7-8 in Haymarket.
The competition will take place at Camp William B. Snyder on both days.
On May 7, participants will take part in a VIP clinic with Redskins Hall of Famer Dave Butz, and on May 8 will clay shoot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to a release, there are 4 shooters allowed per team.
Prizes for the top shooting teams and individuals will be awarded at the end of the competition.
Sponsorship opportunities are available for those that wish to support the Boy Scouts of America.
Contact Phillip Duggins at 540-220-9904 for more information.
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On May 1, the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation and the Virginia Quail Recovery Initiative are hosting a workshop in Nokesville, to help residents learn about what they can do to create wildlife habitats in their backyards.
“Our goal is trying to spread the word about wildlife habitat work that can be done even on a small scale…what we’re trying to do with this workshop is try and give folks some options. For example, converting [their land] into a wildlife meadow for continual bloom and beauty from May to October, while also providing a great habitat for songbirds and pollinators, monarchs as well as other species,” said David Bryan, a private lands wildlife biologist for the USDA-NRCS.
The workshop runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and includes free food.
“What we’re going to do at the workshop is we’re going to have an outdoor walk and talk, on the farm where we’re hosting it – which has done some habitat work – and talk about the types of things you can consider doing in your backyard,” commented Bryan.
After a walk on the property, participants will be able to engage in a conversation about landowner options and hear from a panel of landowners from surrounding counties about the habitat work they’ve done on their land.
According to Bryan, the program still has room for 25 to 30 people, and registration is required.
Residents can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 28, Prince William police responded to a call from Novant Health Prince William Medical Center to investigate an assault.
According to a Prince William police release, an investigation revealed that the victim, a 22-year old Manassas man, was with friends at a residence on Rembert Court in Gainesville, when the victim was assaulted by two acquaintances.
After completing the investigation, detectives from Prince William police’s Robbery Unit identified both men involved in the assault of the victim.
Prince William police stated that when attempting to arrest one of the suspects, 19-year old Gainesville man Stefan Greceanu, Ionela Greceanu, his mother, stood in the doorway to stop officers from entering.
Officers on the scene were able to take both Ionela and Stefan Greceanu into custody without incident, said a Prince William police release.
18-year old Eduard Gaman, identified as the second suspect in the assault, was located and arrested yesterday, said a Prince William police release.
Stefan Greceanu and Gaman are being charged with malicious wounding and are being held without bond.
Ionela Greceanu is being charged with obstruction of justice.
Republicans face off in Prince William Chairmans Race Primary Debate
Two Republicans seeking to lead the Prince William County Board of Supervisors sat down for a debate on Saturday.
Incumbent Corey Stewart faced newcomer Chris Crawford, and each discussed issues facing the county from tax bills, funding firefighters, to bringing new jobs to the region.
On the latter note, Stewart addressed a question that asked what more is being done to bring high-paying jobs to the area as retailers like Walmart consistently rank in the list of the county’s top employers.
“We have so far, in a two-year period, have $1.5 billion in private investment in Prince William County,” said Stewart. “The jobs are there. Some are in the retail sector, but a lot of them aren’t. We’re seeing a lot of development in the life sciences industry especially in the [Innovation Park] area, and in the Route 1 corridor [in Woodbridge.]”
Crawford disagreed, and said he is tired of having to leave Prince William each day for a high-paying job.
“Innovation looks like a wheat field. I hear there’s a lot of jobs but I just don’t see it. We’ve got to get our tax rate under control…the businesses aren’t coming here,” said Crawford.
Recent local government data show the vacancy rate for commercial office, industrial, and retail space sits at 6.8% in December 2014, down from 8.3% one year earlier. At-place employment is also slightly on the rise.
Home values continue to rise, too. Stewart said he and others on the Board of Supervisors have worked to keep low the average property tax bill for Prince William homeowners, citing the bills are 30% lower than they are in neighboring Loudoun County.
“It’s not apples to apples to compare homes in other counties. Their houses are worth more,” Crawford fired back.
Both men support taking funds from the county’s fire levy that were once given to volunteer fire companies and instead use them to pay the salaries of career firefighters.
“As we become a more suburb and community and less rural, the number of volunteers is inevitably declining,” said Stewart.
Both men added they support the county’s blended career and volunteer fire system, and both thanked volunteers for their service.
The debates were held at the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center. They were co-sponsored by the Coles District Civic Association and Potomac Local.
Video of the full debate produced by Bill Golden of the Coles District Civic Association after the jump (more…)
Yesterday evening, Prince William police responded to a call in Nokesville about shots fired.
According to a Prince William police release, the caller and now the accused, 38-year old Brandon Wood, stated to the police that someone was firing a gun into his residence.
After arriving on scene, several officers to a blocked off area, where they made contact with a female resident and her child inside the home, said a Prince William police release.
Officers were able to determine that no shots were fired at the scene.
Additionally, Wood is currently wanted by the Prince William police on unrelated charges, said a release.
Prince William police were able to arrest Wood, and confirm that no shooting took place.
Wood is being charged with falsely summoning the police, and is being held without bond.
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On April 9 the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market opened for the season. This is the 24th season the City’s Farmer’s Market has been delivering fresh produce and goods to residents and visitors of the City of Manassas. On Thursdays, the Farmer’s Market is located in the Harris Pavilion and on Saturdays it is located in parking lot B or the water tower lot. Both markets are open from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. In June, July and August there is a summer evening market from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Harris Pavilion.
About five years ago the City’s Farmer’s Market became a SNAP distributor by applying to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. This opened the door for people that are receiving assistance to purchase fresh fruits and vegetable from the market. In addition, Historic Manassas, Inc. has formed a partnership with INOVA, who supplied matching funds for dollars spent by SNAP recipients. The City of Manassas Farmers Market was one of the very first in this region to be able to offer this service to customers.
Jeff Adams has been selling Walnut Hill Farms poultry, eggs, pork, beef and lamb at the market for about five years. His motto is “from birth to plate, we know what we ate.” Jeff is a former biology teacher and telephone company employee. He bought his farm in 2001 after saying goodbye to corporate America.
Ron Burleson of Skyline Premium Meats has been a part of the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market for seven seasons. Burleson and his wife, Suzy run a farm in Unionville, Virginia, where they raise calves. Ron and Suzy also maintain a greenhouse, and depending on the season, produce eggs. They raise an array of annuals; from hanging baskets to potted vegetable plants and beautiful handmade Christmas wreaths in the winter season.
These are just two of the many wonderful vendors at the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market. Visit the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market soon!
On May 2, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Manassas Airshow is bringing in Breitling Jet Team, the largest professional civilian flight jet team. This team demonstrates aerobatics with precision, speed, mastery and style. The Breitling Team coordinates a meticulous ballet in which planes sometimes fly within three meters of each other at speeds of over 700 kilometers per hour.
They are really a sight to see and the event is free to the public.
Also performing this year are the 3rd Dimension Parachute Team, the American Helicopters Demonstration Team, Andrew McKenna P-51 and T-6 Aerobatics, the Flying Circus Stearman Flight, Scott Francis MXS Aerobatics, Jack Knutson Extra 300 Aerobatics, Matt Chapman CAP 580 Aerobatics, Randy Devere CJ-6 Aerobatics and there will be an RC Modeler Jet Demonstration. Along with these performers, the Manassas Airshow offers aircraft displays, military re-enactors and much more.
Also at the Manassas Regional Airport on April 26 at 7:30 a.m. runners will be getting ready to race the Manassas Runway 10K/5K presented by the Bull Run and Manassas Rotary Clubs. This is the flattest run in the area, being held on the actual runway.
The Texas Raiders B-17 will be at the Manassas Regional Airport from May 3 to 6 offering rides on their B-17, which is one of only eleven B-17 flying fortresses still flying today. On May 8 from noon to 1 p.m. 15 historically sequenced warbird formations will participate in the World War II Victory Capitol Flyover in honor of the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. While several of these majestic warbirds are visiting the Manassas Regional Airport, they will be giving tours, May 9-10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on any of these events, visit manassascity.org/airportevents.
Highway would link Prince William, Loudoun counties
You may count the Bi-County Parkway down, but don’t count it out.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is no longer seeking federal funds for the 10-mile highway that would link travelers on Interstate 95 in Dumfries to I-66, and ultimately to Dulles Airport in Loudoun County.
The project must now undergo a statewide review process mandated by House Bill 2, also known as the “HB2” process, where highway projects that are not fully funded funnel through a state review process.
“This is a new prioritization process we’re still developing where projects will be screened and scored based on their ability to improve traffic congestion and highway safety,” said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tamara Rollison.
Projects that will go through HB2 screen have yet to be identified. The HB2 scoring rubric is expected to be finalized in June, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond could select their first projects for review by fall.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board may be review projects at urging of a local board of supervisors or a metropolitan planning organization.
“The big difference between the HB2 process versus the old process is that, for the first time, [the review process is mandated] in legislation. This administration is trying to take politics out of transportation as much as possible. It’s about taking limited dollars in within the state to meet as many transportation needs as we can,” added Rollison.
VDOT notified Northern Virginia Delegate Tim Hugo by letter it was no longer seeking federal funds for the project. That letter also addresses the HB2 process.
Politicians said that notice is a sign of defeat for a once contentious project. Two years ago, a debate over the Bi-County Parkway had highway officials, business leaders, politicians, and residents who live along the Route 234 corridor up in arms.