Spencer land management director is stepping down this week

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 30, 2014

SPENCER — Price Wagoner is stepping down as the town of Spencer’s land management director 18 months after he took the job.
Wagoner said he does not have another job lined up but wants to pursue something with more emphasis on planning. He received a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in geography with a focus on community planning.
His last day will be Tuesday.
“Price’s background in construction and development, coupled with his education in planning, brought a very unique perspective to Spencer and the Small Town Main Street program,” Spencer Town Manager Larry Smith said. “I really appreciate his time here with us, and of course wish him the best as he continues to pursue his passions in the planning field.”
Smith said he has been working with the town’s code enforcement officer on a transition plan and will post the land management director position soon to receive applications.
Budget time is approaching, and the job had been on the chopping block before Wagoner was hired. Smith said his proposed budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year will include money to hire a replacement for Wagoner.
While residents continue to complain about code violations in the town, Spencer recently landed the town’s biggest retail and restaurant development in years when Joe Strickland and Rick Register bought a mostly vacant shopping center in the middle of town called Spencer Shoppes.
The new owners are moving the Family Dollar into a future 8,000-square-foot building at the corner of Salisbury Avenue and Fourth Street and opening Porky’s III restaurant in the shopping center.
Spencer’s much-lauded Small Town Main Street program suffered a setback when a state coordinator said the town lacks cohesiveness and recommended collapsing the full program into one smaller committee.
The entire Small Town Main Street group is scheduled to meet again in June.
The Spencer Woods project continues making progress. With help from the LandTrust of Central North Carolina, the town last year landed a $206,000 state grant to complete the educational park and 42-acre forest.
With a matching grant from private donors, the town has a total of $412,000 to implement the Spencer Woods Master Plan, including additional trails, parking, signs, benches, an observation deck, accessibility for disabled visitors and more.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.