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Kannapolis council discusses alternatives to disposal of e-waste

By Susan Shinn

For the Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — Council members don’t want your old television to end up in a ditch.

On Monday, Kannapolis City Council members discussed alternatives to disposal of electronic waste or e-waste: televisions, computers, keyboards and the like.

Three years ago, the state banned televisions and computer equipment from being sent to landfills. Currently, there’s a self-service drop-off site at the Public Works Operations Center on Bethpage Road.

Last year, Simpson said, some 96 tons of electronics were sent for recycling, but the city’s contract with that vendor expires in November, said Sharnelle Simpson, the city’s environmental outreach coordinator. Simpson said that a high percentage of old televisions are turned in, with lower than expected sales to recyclers. An additional challenge is the disposal of e-waste by non-residents and businesses.

The city makes no money from this recycling, according to Wilmer Melton, public works director.

But Mayor Darrell Hinnant said he was uncomfortable with just having one day a year for drop-offs of old equipment, as proposed by Simpson and Jerome Blakeney, warehouse and facilities manager. “One day a year is not adequate.”

Councilwoman Diane Berry said she’d like to see drop-offs available six times a year, and other council members asked for a quarterly schedule. Melton said he would get rates on both schedules and report back to council at its next meeting.

Council also heard a presentation from Melton about a proposed quiet zone at four railroad crossings in Kannapolis at Rogers Lake Road, East First Street, 18th Street and 22nd Street.

Quiet zones mean that trains would sound their horns less frequently, Melton said. Melton said that a total of $15,200 would be charged for maintenance fees at each of those crossings.

“This doesn’t change the safety of a crossing,” Melton said. “This simply reduces noise we have coming through the community.”

Rocky Mount, New Bern and Asheville have quiet zones. By consensus, council asked that Melton talk with each of these cities about their experiences, and report back at the next meeting.

In other business, council unanimously approved:

• A request to donate $5,000 for the Kannapolis Christmas Parade. The item will be placed on the consent agenda at the next City Council meeting.

• A motion to transfer funds from the Water and Sewer Fund to the General Fund Budget to cover the cost of two dump trucks. This item was moved from the consent agenda because council wanted to be especially cautious and transparent in appropriating these funds, said Eric Davis, finance director.

The trucks were budgeted last fiscal year but the bids came in substantially over budget, thus the reason for the transfer. The trucks are being purchased at $120,238 and $113,082.

City Manager Mike Legg said that elsewhere in the state, water and sewer funds have been appropriated for items unrelated to those departments. “We don’t do any of that.”

• The adoption of a Bicycle Plan.

“We have a healthy living brand and vision we want to implement,” said Irene Sacks, the city’s director of business and community affairs. “But we did not have a bike plan.”

The plan will serve to make downtown Kannapolis a destination for exercise, she said. At present, “very limited” facilities exist: a .8 mile bike lane, 1.5 miles of greenway, and wide streets in the downtown area.

“It is pretty safe and popular to bike around the downtown area,” she noted.

Sacks said that some 300 residents had responded to an online survey about biking. Her department also held community meetings and sought input from a local cycling group. Sacks said that most respondents were concerned about safety and biked as a casual form of exercise.

The types of improvements that could take place include dedicated bike lanes, increased greenway space, paved shoulders and increased signage. Phase 1 of this plan includes improved signage and road markings, along with policy and program evaluations.

“This is certainly a long-term effort,” Sacks said.

• An agreement to work with NCDOT in historic preservation projects in the area of Juniper and Pine streets, and Frog Hollow Mill Village. The widening of Highway 3 will impact these neighborhoods. As part of the mitigation process, NCDOT will photograph the affected areas, collect oral histories from longtime residents about life in the historic districts, Kannapolis and Cannon Mills, create an interpretive exhibit from collected materials, and create a brick-like pattern for retaining walls as part of the road widening.

The city has also asked NCDOT to restore the Cannon Mills cupola as part of the interpretive exhibit.

“They haven’t said no, but they haven’t said yes,” Sacks said.

“You may need to do a little lobbying with DOT officials,” Legg said.

• The Carolina Thread Trail Master Plan for Rowan County. The trail will include 3.4 miles within Kannapolis City limits, said Gary Mills, parks and recreation director.

The plan was approved Oct. 21 by the Kannapolis Parks and Recreation Commission, and has been approved by the towns of Spencer, East Spencer and Faith. Presentations to remaining Rowan municipalities take place within the next month.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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