Transportation Museum might be interested in GQ freight depot

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015

By Mark Wineka

GRANITE QUARRY — A long-neglected piece of Granite Quarry history might receive a pardon.

The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen is moving ahead on its plans to redevelop a corner property the town purchased last December at Rowan and Main streets. The parcel includes the town’s old freight depot, and the town aims to clear the land of the depot and a dilapidated house.

Could a possible rescue for the the small depot building be in the works?

“The North Carolina Transportation Museum has expressed interest in moving the depot, and they are in the process of searching for funding,” Town Manager Justin Price reported at Monday’s town board meeting.

“The town should know by May if they will be able to move the depot and an expected time frame to relocate.”

The town purchased the site last December for $51,123.90, and Mayor Bill Feather said officials eventually want to get the property back on the tax books.

The town’s original depot was moved years ago to Dan Nicholas Park. This smaller baggage or freight depot had been positioned for years along the tracks and across from Shiloh Reformed Church.

Patricia Benfield-Masters said Tuesday her father, Garland Bringle, arranged to have the freight depot moved to Rowan and Main streets in the 1970s to save the structure.

“He loved Granite Quarry,” she said.

Benfield-Masters remembers years ago watching washing machines and other appliances for Brown Supply being unloaded off trains at the freight depot.

In related news, the Fire Department will have an asbestos inspection of the vacant house on the town’s site, and if there is no need of remediation on the asbestos, the department will apply for a controlled burn permit.

“The Fire Department plans to burn the home during the month of May,” Price said.

A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. May 4, before the town board’s next meeting, to discuss a proposed rezoning of the property.

In another matter. Feather asked that the Recycling Committee’s scope of work be expanded to include garbage, leaves, limbs and landfill issues.

Price noted that the contract for Waste Management, which provides once-a-week garbage pickup in the town, will automatically renew April 15, unless the board had other plans.

Price recommended that the board allow the renewal to happen for a year, but he suggested also setting a date in December to discuss future waste handling plans and what other options might be available.

In other Granite Quarry news:

• The Business Association and Parks, Events and Recreation Commission are planning the “Grand Ole Granite Quarry Duck Derby” June 13 at Granite Lake Park.

Sarah Cross, deputy clerk and office assistant for the town, said the event will be a rubber duck race on the lake. The ducks will be pushed through the water by wind generated from the Rowan Rescue Squad’s air boat.

“It works,” Cross said. “I’ve seen it work.”

Participants will be able to purchase their racing ducks at Granite Quarry businesses.

• The annual Plants in the Park event at Granite Lake Park will be held from 9 a.m.-noon  April 25 at Granite Lake.

• The annual Fish for Fun Day will be held at Granite Lake June 20.

• Garry Mattingly, reporting for the town’s Revitalization Team, said the group would like to move ahead with sidewalk stenciling aimed at encouraging walking in town. The idea has been sent to the Community Appearance Committee.

Mattingly said it could represent a low-cost, high-visibility project.

• Alderman Arin Wilhelm said the Community Appearance Committee met for the first time in March and will meet again Thursday. The committee is moving forward with Yard of the Month and Business of the Month recognitions and looking into automatic misting systems for downtown planters.

Meanwhile, Wilhelm is continuing his personal survey of the condition of sidewalks throughout the town and identifying possible locations for crosswalks.

• Price, Feather and Mayor Pro Tem Jim LaFevers attended Town Hall Day in Raleigh March 18 and had a luncheon meeting with State Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, and Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan. Items discussed included a motor vehicle tax, extra-territorial zoning areas and annexation.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.