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Reworked Bank Street crossing open in Granite Quarry

By Mark Wineka
mark.wineka@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY — As most Granite Quarry motorists know, the reworked Bank Street rail crossing is open to traffic again.

In turn, the Lyerly Street crossing has been closed as part of an overall N.C. Department of Transportation Rail Division plan. Town Manager Justin Price said Monday residents should now use the crossings at Bank or Depot streets to cross the tracks between U.S. 52 and Main Street.

Before its recent changes, the Bank Street crossing’s short and sharp elevation change sometimes snagged the undercarriage of vehicles, especially tractor-trailers, which became caught on the tracks.

At Monday night’s town board meeting, Alderman Mike Brinkley said he has noticed at least twice that the timing of the traffic light on U.S. 52 has caused Bank Street traffic to back up all the way to the newly configured crossing. He asked Price to investigate with DOT whether the light’s timing could be changed to prevent those kinds of backups.

Still to come this year will be signals and gates at the Bank and Depot street crossings. The town will then have a yearly maintenance fee for the crossings of roughly $1,600 a year.

In another matter Monday, the Board of Aldermen authorized Price and Mayor Bill Feather to execute an agreement with the DOT for a CMAQ (Congestion and Mitigation Air Quality) grant to build new sidewalks in several sections of Granite Quarry.

The total project is $480,000, with federal funds paying for 80 percent of the cost, or $384,000. The town’s required match is 20 percent, or $96,000.

Price said he is actively pursuing additional sources of funding to pay for the town’s share, including a grant application to the Carolina Thread Trail.

In looking over the funding, Brinkley said it’s frustrating to see 15 percent going toward administrative costs, especially when the project is as simple as laying new sidewalk.

Aldermen also are discussing the future of property they purchased in December at Main and Rowan streets (316 S. Main St.). Their purchase price was $51,123.90, and the property includes a depot the town would like to donate to a historical group.

Price said Historic Salisbury Foundation has expressed an interest, though it probably would need several months in putting together many of the logistics behind how, when and where to move the building.

Meanwhile, town staff members are gathering information on the cost of demolishing a house on the property and developing a revitalization plan for the site.

In connection to town revitalization, planning consultants Arnett/Muldrow of Greenville, S.C., have shared with the staff a detailed proposed for Granite Quarry .

Price is encouraging the public to attend a presentation of that proposal to aldermen, the Planning Board and Revitalization Team at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at town hall.

In December, the town board authorized Price to continue price negotiations with Arnett/Muldrow and seek other private funding sources to offset the $32,000 price tag for this phase of the town’s revitalization efforts.

Monday night, aldermen gave a thumbs up to a proposed mission statement for the town. Granite Quarry’s mission will be “to foster community growth through a sustainable comprehensive plan committed to economic development for the town where citizens can work and play while improving the quality of life.”

In other town business:

• Aldermen learned their financial consultant, Stacy Heath, has asked that her contract not be renewed Jan. 31 because of other work obligations she has. Heath has helped the town on its financial side for the past six years. “We appreciate everything she’s done,” Price said. He added the staff will look at various options to fill in the void, including advertising for a part-time position.

• Price reported Granite Lake Park now offers wireless internet. More information will be released by the town and Time Warner Cable later, but for now guests can log on for one-hour increments, while Time Warner customers can log in with their password for unlimited access.

• Aldermen have set Feb. 20-21 as the dates for their annual budget retreat and workshop.

• Deputy Clerk Sarah Cross, reporting for the Parks, Events and Recreation Committee, said about 160 treat bags for children were given out in December for Santa’s town-sponsored visit to Granite Lake Park. The decorated and lighted Christmas trees around the lake also proved to be a successful project, and Cross said the town already is fielding inquiries from businesses, churches and organizations interested in having a tree at the lake for Christmas 2015.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

 

 

 

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