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County to spend an additional half million on West End Plaza

The county has another half a million dollars slated for West End Plaza renovations that have been factored into this year’s budget.
The approximate $500,000 stands in addition to the other $500,000 the county wants to borrow through the potential approval of an application to the Local Government Commission.
While the county’s elections office at the mall will cost about $400,000 to renovate, the veteran services office will cost about $100,000.
“We’re moving forward with putting the plans out to bid for renovating the elections office,” Rowan County Manager Gary Page said. “There is about $500,000 that we are going to spend out there renovating the space. In addition to that, $500,000 is going to various improvements at the mall – probably a little HVAC work and Internet access.”
When elections officials are moved out to the former mall, Page said some of the half million will go toward installing broadband Internet access.
The rest of the money will go toward HVAC and roof repairs, Page said.
“We will probably spend a million over the next five months,” Page said. “The board (of commissioners) is committed to doing the renovations and moving in. If the LGC application gets approved in August or September, then we will have done the renovations and have gotten reimbursed. If, for some reason, it doesn’t get approved again, then the county is going to spend the half million out of fund balance.”
The county is continuing to move forward, and the operation of the mall pays for itself, Page said.
“The purchase price, $3.4 million, is what I couldn’t cover. The board technically paid for it out of fund balance,” Page said. “Our board has been behind it. Buy it, use it and move forward.”
If a new set of commissioners moves in after the primary and doesn’t want to proceed with the mall, Page said “That’s fine.”
“Every board has its own philosophy, except that this board bought the mall and is committed to using it. They have given me my marching orders,” Page said.
This week, Page said he has three people interested in leasing space at West End Plaza.
“The bottom line is, my board members did not run for three-and-a-half year terms. They ran for four year terms,” Page said. “They are going to do what they think is best in the next five months.”

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