third street widening
By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó The 100 block of Third Street will be closed periodically in coming weeks as workers install drainage pipes and fill in a huge ditch alongside the road.
When the project is finished, the street will be wider and safer. Curbing and guttering will be added as well as a sidewalk.
Lynn Basinger, an inspector for the N.C. Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the project, said each lane of the street will be 12 feet wide when the work is done. He said the lanes are currently between 9 and 10 feet in width.
The sidewalks will make pedestrian travel considerably safer.
The block has always been one of the more dangerous in Spencer for pedestrians. A number of people walk the block going to and from businesses on Salisbury Avenue.
The work was contracted by the DOT to Carolina Site Works for about $160,000. The drainage pipes are 24 inches wide. Approximately 400 feet of the pipes are being installed.
Basinger said the work should be finished in about two weeks.
The corner lot, which measure just over an acre, belongs to Dan Patterson. He’s done extensive work to the site since buying the property from Southern Railway in 2000.
Patterson said that when he bought the property, it was split by a huge gully. He said that since 2000, he’s filled it with more than 3,000 truckloads of dirt.
By comparison, the work that the state is completing along Third Street is taking about 100 loads of dirt.
Patterson, who grew up in Spencer, said the lot was for a long while an eyesore.
“You won’t believe the people who have stopped me and said, ‘I never thought you’d finish,’ ” Patterson said of the work.
He’s still not done, but he’s made tremendous strides over the past seven years. The lot is almost level and drainage should no longer be a problem, considering the pipes that the state and Patterson have installed.
Patterson said he has long considered building a bed and breakfast on the property. But he said that more recently he’s considered other alternatives, including constructing a skateboard park.
“I want to do what’s best for Spencer,” Patterson said.
He surveyed the lot and all the work he’d done before adding, “We’re going to make it pretty, first.”
Patterson chuckled that his wife questioned his sanity when he told her he planned to buy the lot.
“She said I was the only idiot in Rowan County stupid enough to buy it,” Patterson joked.
He said he’s invested about $110,000 in filling the lot’s gully, installing drainage pipes and landscaping. The cost would have been considerably higher, Patterson said, had he not done most of the work himself.
Patterson said the more he contemplates building a skateboard park, the more the idea appeals to him, though he also admitted that he’s a long ways from making a decision.
He said he’s traveled to Rogersville, Tenn., on a number of occasions to look at a skateboard park that’s been built there. Patterson said the park is a well built and operated.
It’s clean and an asset to the community, he said.
Patterson said his lot at the corner of Third Street and Yadkin Avenue used to be the site of a wading pool. It’s long since been demolished, Patterson said, but the pool at one time attracted children from far and wide.
“The kids in Spencer used to swim around in it,” Patterson said.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman @salisburypost.com.