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Cruise-ins will return to Spencer beginning in April

SPENCER — The original Spencer cruise-in that drew people to the downtown from 2006 to 2009 will return starting April 19.

Spencer aldermen on Tuesday agreed to partner with the Original Cruzin’ Around Spencer, which will take place on the third Saturday of the month from April to December, hosted by the Iron Horse Bar and Grill. Organizer Kellie Waddell said there is confusion with another cruise-in and car show event being planned and asked town officials for their support.

The board agreed to close Fourth Street and Fifth Street as needed for Cruzin’ Around Spencer, as well as close two lanes of travel on Salisbury Avenue in certain blocks, contingent upon N.C. Department of Transportation approval. The event may use the town’s power pole, aldermen agreed.

No dogs will be allowed other than service animals, and an off-duty police officer will provide security. Vendors will set up on Fourth Street, and Fifth Street and South Salisbury Avenue will be used for display of custom vehicles.

In other business at the meeting:

• Meredith Williams, assistant principal at North Rowan Middle School, invited town officials to come for a tour to see students in action and witness their use of technology, including iPads for each student that have replaced textbooks and notebooks.

The three North Rowan schools in Spencer “have operated under a public perception that is false,” Williams said.

“We need the community not to just support us with your hearts but to support us with your actions,” she said. “As the leaders in our community, your support is crucial.”

Elected officials must be educated about the public school in Spencer so they can help combat negative public perceptions, Williams said.

• Alderman Mike Boone said the board needs monthly reports about the progress toward solving ongoing problems in the downtown and historic district. The other aldermen agreed with Boone’s suggestion that Town Manager Larry Smith come up with a proposal on how to keep the board better informed, including more information from code enforcement, police and fire departments, land management and public works.

Boone said he wants regular updates on nuisance code violators, speeders, sign ordinance violators, fire code violators and any public concerns from the previous month regarding the central business district.

“I feel this inclusion will not only hasten the resolve of continual complaints, but will increase confidence from the public in the board and Spencer officials in general,” he said.

• Spencer Police Chief Michael James next month will present a proposed ordinance regarding gun salutes in the town and whether an organization would need to notify town hall or the police department before shooting blanks. The board discussed exempting cemeteries and funerals from a notification requirement.

The topic came up in response to a ribbon cutting in February at a proposed facility for homeless veterans. The salute at the ribbon cutting was unexpected and frightened many neighbors.

• New Spencer Police Officer Chad Robert Insley was sworn in Tuesday. Insley has two and a half years experience in law enforcement and comes to Spencer from the Lexington Police Department.

The Spencer Police Department has 13 positions including two funded by the school system at 75 percent. James said he has one more vacancy to fill.

He also quelled a rumor that he had spent $1,500 on a hat, saying the department’s entire hat collection did not total $1,500.

• The mulch giveaway will be held from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, first-come, first-served. Delivery is available.

• Once the Public Works Department has the materials, crews will begin fixing the potholes caused by the winter weather, director Joel Taylor said. Boone said previous repairs have not held up.

• Land management services director Price Wagoner said the town issued 75 code violations last month. Fifty were abated by the property owner, one by the town but the owner paid the bill, three were billed and 21 are not due yet. Many were garbage can violations, and Wagoner said the town has been applying new stickers to the rollout trash cans, reminding violators how to properly store them.

• Aldermen will hold a planning retreat Friday and Saturday. The event is open to the public at the Spencer Volunteer Fire Department.

The agenda includes:

Friday:

• 6-6:30 p.m. Town manager/administration

• 6:30-7 p.m. Police department

• 7-7:30 p.m. Fire department

• 7:40-8:05 p.m. Public works department

• 8:05-8:30 p.m. Wrap-up

Saturday:

• 8:30-8:45 a.m. Ground rules

• 8:45-9:05 a.m. Expectations

• 9:05-9:15 a.m. Report on priority issues derived from phone conversations with staff and elected officials

• 9:15-9:45 a.m. Develop consensus on priority issues and set time limits for each

• 9:45-10:05 a.m. Discussion of how decisions are made and implemented

• 10:20 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Processing of priority items part I

• 1:15-3:35 p.m. Processing of priority items part II

• 3:50-4:10 p.m. Plans for follow-up

• 4:10-4:30 p.m. Evaluation and wrap-up

Contact Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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