Commissioners approve sewer easement at fairgrounds

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rowan County Fair and economic development officials have been waiting for months to go ahead with construction of a multi-use, 9,000-square-foot event center.

Unable to build a septic system on the fairgrounds, officials just needed approval of a sewer easement that would allow for sewage to flow from the future center and into the city’s pipes.

Rowan County commissioners gave them that green light Monday.

The approved sewer easement running from the future event center’s location along Julian Road and southwest next to the Rowan County Animal Shelter is the last piece officials needed to move forward with the big project.

“We are happy commissioners saw that vision and were able to approve (the sewer easement) for us,” said Randall Barger, the fair association’s event coordinator. “The construction of the event center was hinging on what happened here tonight. If they didn’t give us an easement – we were done.”

Commissioners examined multiple options for the route of the sewer easement and ultimately preferred the shorter, less obtrusive blueprint running along the animal shelter’s property.

“The shorter option actually appears to stick to existing property lines or uses more closely,” EDC executive director Robert Van Geons said.

Jim Sides, the board’s chairman, said the building project has been held up for several months now.

“They have had problems with our county department and the state in getting the necessary permits to be able to build, and I don’t want to see us hold them up any further,” Sides said.

Barger said the plans now will be sent to an engineer, after which bids will go out.

“Once we get the bids, we will have to get permits,” Barger said. “Then, we have to finish designing the building.”

Although the timeline is tight, Barger said he is hoping construction will start in May and be finished by the start of the fair in September.

Commissioners also recognized Livingstone College’s men’s basketball team.

The Blue Bears defeated Winston-Salem State 83-68 to win the institution’s first-ever CIAA basketball championship.

“It’s also important to note that not only did Livingstone win the tournament, (they) had the highest grade point average among the 12 men’s CIAA teams,” Barber said. “This was an extremely high achievement by Livingstone College and their men’s basketball team. It is the school’s first in the event’s 69-year history.”

Sides said Barber’s suggestion to recognize the Blue Bears was in order.

“If you do something for the first time in 69 years, that certainly is an accomplishment,” Sides said.