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Granite Quarry gives thumbs up to Carolina Thread Trail plan

By Mark Wineka

GRANITE QUARRY — Granite Quarry became the eighth local municipality to give its support Monday to a Carolina Thread Trail master plan for Rowan County.

“This dovetails nicely with out revitalization plans,” Alderman Mike Brinkley said.

Speaking for Carolina Thread Trail, Randi Gates updated aldermen Monday night on the planning process that led to a Rowan master plan, which still has to be adopted by Cleveland, Rockwell and, trail officials hope, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.

Of the 15 counties involved in the Carolina Thread Trail, 14 have gone through a public process and adopted master plans. Rowan County is the only one left. Gates said Granite Quarry’s adoption of the master plan means  three things for the town:

• It could enhance what the town already plans for trails or greenways.

• It qualifies the town to receive “catalytic funding” from the Carolina Thread Trail.

• It does not commit the town to fund implementation of the proposed trails or greenways within its boundaries. “That’s important for communities to hear,” Gates said.

To reach this point of having a master plan, each county developed a local steering committee. The representatives from Granite Quarry were Planning and Zoning Administrator Susan Closner and Alderwoman Mary Ponds. (Granite Quarry already had passed a resolution in support of the Carolina Thread Trail concept in September 2011.)

Two rounds of public meetings occurred in January and July.  Granite Quarry was host for one of the July meetings. There also was an online survey. “This was a public process,” Gates said.

The Rowan County Master Plan calls for a total of 107 miles of greenway or trails in Rowan, and the Thread Trail would connect to 10 different towns, including Granite Quarry. Overall, 49.3 percent of the county’s children would be within a half-mile of some segment of the trail, 44.7 percent of all seniors and 47.1 percent of all residents.

In Granite Quarry, segments of the trail would include U.S. 52, Bank Street, Oak Street, Peeler Street and Byrd Road to Faith Road. Connections also would be sought to the Old Stone House and Dunn’s Mountain Park.

The idea for a Carolina Thread Trail, which includes four counties in South Carolina, started in 2006-2007. Organizers set a goal of raising $40 million for the regional trail network, which would include $25 million in cash and $15 million in land. So far, $18 million in cash has been raised, Gates said.

For Rowan County, $445,000 already has been set aside for implementation of Rowan County trails. In Granite Quarry’s case, some of the Carolina Thread Trail money could be used, if approved, as matching funds for new sidewalks already on the drawing board for gaps on U.S. 52. Signs also are available from Carolina Thread Trail for trails town already have in place.

Gates said Carolina Thread Trail hopes to approach the Rowan County Board of Commissioners with the master plan in early 2015.

In other business Monday, aldermen:

• Held a moment of silence in remembrance of former Alderman Brad Kluttz, who died of brain cancer in November. Kluttz, 49, was an alderman  from 2006-2013.

“We were very proud to have Brad as a board member, ” Mayor Bill Feather said. “… This was kind of a tough thing.”

• Held a public hearing but delayed any action until January on changing the town charter to provide for a separate mayoral election. Currently, Granite Quarry voters elect five town board members who decide among themselves every two years on the person they want to be mayor. The proposed change would hold separate mayoral elections every four years and otherwise have four board members, also elected for four-year terms.

“I think it’s probably a good idea,” resident Edna Cole said during the public hearing.

• Asked Town Manager Justin Price to  work with Arnett, Muldrow & Associates of Greenville, S.C., and possible private resources to determine what it will cost the town for a vision plan and implementation strategy for revitalization efforts. The proposal preferred by the town would cost about $32,000.

• Approved the town’s $51,123.90 purchase of roughly 3.5 acres at 316 S. Main St. The property was offered to the town by the heirs of Annie Lou Bringle. A house sits on this land, located at the corner of South Main and Rowan streets, and the structure probably will be removed, Feather said.

• Approved a resolution which calls on the  town to assume ownership and maintenance responsibility for the new industrial road being built by the N.C. Department of Transportation for Gildan, off Heilig Road. Rowan County received a grant from the DOT to assist in building the extra access road for Gildan, and originally the county intended to turn the road over to the DOT for maintenance.. But because specifications for the road changed, the DOT would not accept future maintenance once the project is complete.










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