kann city council

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Hugh Fisher
For the Salisbury Post
KANNAPOLIS ó Weeks of debate over how to spend federal grant money ended Monday night with a vote to devote more than $760,000 to building new sidewalks near area schools, funding nonprofit groups and improving playground equipment at Kannapolis’ Village Park.
The Kannapolis City Council approved the city manager’s recommended plan for using Community Development Block Grant funds by a 6-1 vote, with council member Richard Anderson the lone dissenter.
Anderson stood by the position he had developed at previous meetings when this was discussed ó that sidewalk and street projects considered at recent meetings should be the sole use of the funds.
“That should be the No. 1 position of this council,” Anderson said.
The package approved by the council ó one of three proposed after lengthy discussions and input from the public ó includes a total of $236,500 for sidewalks near Kannapolis Intermediate School, a place where City Manager Mike Legg says many pedestrians already travel and have worn footpaths by the sides of roads.
Also included are $175,000 for sidewalks along Oakwood Avenue and up to $119,232 for sidewalks near Woodrow Wilson School, although the city will fall short of the money needed to pave all areas there.
$86,000 is earmarked for new playground equipment at Village Park, where planners say demand has outstripped capacity and $61,500 to fund local nonprofit groups and charitable organizations.
The plan also includes $82,045 in administrative fees for the projects.
Council member Darrell Hinnant made the motion to approve the package.
But before the vote, Anderson proposed an amendment to delete the playground equipment item and to add back in a proposal to pave and add water and sewer lines to Lombardi Street, one of the few gravel roads left in Kannapolis.
That plan, along with the other items included, would have run the city approximately $30,000 over budget, but Anderson and City Manager Mike Legg said that, hypothetically, costs could have been adjusted to make the projects work.
It was a moot point, however, as Anderson’s amended motion was defeated by a vote of 6-1 just before the original motion went on to pass by the same margin.
The money is part of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program to fund improvements in low- and middle-income communities.
The council also:
– Approved a plan to extend the Afton Run sewer line, currently under construction, to Mooresville Road. The extension will serve a growing residential and commercial area. The extension plan increases the cost of the project from $427,892 to just over $1 million, but Legg told council members that the project’s funding will not negatively affect the city’s budget due to income from water and sewer system connection fees paid by developers.
– Approved an additional $175,200 to pay for unforeseen work on the stormwater line running beneath Village Park. Poor soil conditions at the site ó formerly a landfill used by the now-defunct Cannon Mills ó have resulted in additional work to grade and support the massive stormwater line which will serve the N.C. Research Campus area.
Work at the site is about 85 percent complete, according to city staff. The construction efforts have also included grading for a new train to be installed at the park, scheduled to open to the public next year.
Contact Hugh Fisher at 704-797-4245 or hfisher@salisburypost.com.