Winston-Salem officials are worried that a change in the state budget could hurt their plans to beautify Business 40.

The state Department of Transportation has agreed to improve retaining walls along the downtown corridor. But a new provision of the budget would require the city to pay back the DOT for those improvements.

City Manager Lee Garrity says that would cost the city $4 million it doesn't have for the project. He says it will lose some of its appeal without those improvements.

"What the state would do is just build the standard concrete slab retaining wall, so we'd lose the additional appearance that we hoped for with some kind of brick all along (Business) 40 through downtown," he says.

That brickwork would be part of a larger project designed to completely make over the main thoroughfare through downtown. A group called the Creative Corridors Coalition is raising money to restore the bridges over Business 40 with elaborate new designs.

The city will also spend about $3 million in bond money for landscaping, lighting and a multi-use pathway to run alongside the highway.

Garrity says those projects will continue as planned even if the brickwork on the retaining walls doesn't come through. But he says the overall impact would be diminished.

The City Council will hold a special meeting Friday to discuss their concerns with the local legislative delegation.

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