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Kannapolis council takes simple, direct approach to naming municipal building

KANNAPOLIS — After a lengthy discussion at their previous meeting, Kannapolis City Council members on Monday night wasted no time in approving a name for the new municipal building.
Council voted 7-0 that the words “City of Kannapolis” will be inscribed on the building’s upper frieze. A freestanding sign next to the building will have the words “City Hall” and “Police Headquarters” on it. Public meeting spaces will be named at a later time, and may also appear on this sign.
“We think this will work,” Annette Privette Keller, the city’s director of communications, told council members. “It’s simple and direct.”
“Is there a bold person who will make a motion?” Mayor Darrell Hinnant asked.
Councilman Doug Wilson responded with that motion, which was quickly seconded by Councilman Darrell Jackson.
In other business:
• Two citizens spoke during a public hearing on the 2013-14 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER), presented by Sherry Gordon, Community Development Program administrator. This report is due to HUD by Sept. 28.
Gordon said that the program had spent $150,623 of the $325,879 awarded to it. Unspent funds will be carried over into the next fiscal year, she said.
In particular, Gordon noted that some $40,000 in home rehabs and $500,000 in road improvements have been made in the Carver neighborhood. Councilman Ryan Dayvault added that $140,000 has been spent on Harding Street improvements.
“I know there are a lot of good things going on over there,” Councilman Tom Kincaid said.
Willis Phifer inquired about the work being done behind the intermediate school.
“Right now, we’re trying to get rid of kudzu,” Gordon said. “We also have an idea to create a greenway or walking path. After an environmental review, we’ll have a better idea of what’s needed.”
Tracy Caldwell asked why all repair money is not used. Gordon said there was criteria for home repairs, and a combination of CDBG and HOME funds can be used to bring houses back up to code.
Homeowners may fill out applications to request repairs, Gordon said. Funds are available for owner-occupied homes only, she added, not rental homes.
Council voted unanimously to approve the report.
• Hinnant recognized Mary Ellen Phifer-Kirton as volunteer of the month.
“My goodness!” she said, coming forward to receive the proclamation. “I’m very surprised!”
Phifer-Kirton is a long time political and civil rights activist. Former Mayor Bob Misenheimer, a special guest, said, “One of the nicest things I can say about Mary Ellen is that she’s a yellow-dog Democrat!”
More than a dozen friends and family members gathered to support Phifer-Kirton.
• Dayvault brought forward the idea of displaying student art on the fencing that will surround the City Hall construction project. Council agreed by consensus. City Manager Mike Legg said this idea had been executed in other cities, and that Rodgers Builders could install plywood or other durable material — decorated with student art — in front of the fencing.
“I think it’ll be a pretty cool idea,” he said.
Hinnant said he wanted all schools who have a presence in Kannapolis to participate in the art project.
• Omar Long introduced PHILA, Inc., a local non-profit group offering free tutoring and mentoring to at-risk youth. Working with Long in this endeavor are Brian Cook and David Lyde.
• Hinnant remembered Bachman Brown, Kannapolis’ first mayor, who died Sunday.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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