China Grove OKs new town park, fire department repair projects

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE ó Aldermen have agreed to go forward with two oft-discussed projects: creating a new town park near the Mill Village and repairing the floor in the fire department.
The town’s current budget has money available for both projects.
The Park Advisory Board outlined plans last month to develop a park on a 9-acre parcel of town-owned property off U.S. 29 between First Street and Second Avenue.
Jimmie Higgins, chairman of the parks board, said the park could be developed in stages. The first phase will include adding playground equipment, creating a parking area and developing a walking trail. He asked the board to use nearly $15,000 in the parks budget to buy equipment.
At the April meeting, aldermen delayed action, saying they wanted time to check out the site.
Taking a look at the site convinced aldermen.
Mayor Pro Tem Blair Lyseski cited the kids in the area and more new homes. “We definitely need it,” Lyseski said.
“It’s excellent. It’s a perfect spot,” said Alderman Allen Welter.
Aldermen approved a motion by Welter to go ahead with the project, using $6,000 for playground equipment and $9,000 for development.
Acting Town Manager Bill Pless said the project should get under way by June.
Alderman also voted unanimously to authorize Public Works Director David Ketner to seek prices on repairing a large hole in the concrete floor of the fire department.
The repair is expected to cost $40,000 or more.
The concrete in the former auto dealership building has continually disintegrated under the weight of the fire trucks.
Lyseski questioned whether spending $38,000 to fix a hole in a building the town may sell is good financial judgement. “Will we be wasting $38,000?” asked Lyseski.
He said the town may need to relocate the fire department within the next couple of years to better serve the town.
Alderman Butch Bivens, a member of a committee reviewing the project, said the repair is needed now. He cited potential damage to fire trucks from the chunks of concrete.
And Bivens pointed out that if the town elects to move the fire department elsewhere, the floor would have to be fixed before the building could be sold.
Bivens and Welter, who both serve on the committee, said the town needs to go ahead with the project.
Aldermen briefly looked at concept drawings by ALR Architecture of Charlotte for a full renovation of the police and fire department building on North Main Street.
The project, estimated to cost more than $1 million, would flip-flop the fire department and police departments, adding a 60-by-80 foot metal building for fire trucks.