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Kannapolis moves forward on Main Street improvement plan

KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis City Council on Monday voted to move forward with a series of Main Street improvements that will cost about $360,000.

The improvements focus on the 100 block of South Main Street.

Council members tasked city staff to explore possibilities to improve the space as part of an overall effort to revitalize downtown.

“The intent of council’s discussion was to try to improve the appearance in the interim of this block, before we get into the more detailed analysis of what will happen to this block long term,” said City Manager Mike Legg.

The appearance of the buildings’ facades has started to appear less than attractive as general upkeep and repairs have not been completed in many years.

Roof damage and mold are the primary concerns along with the exterior appearance, Legg said.

Mayor Darrell Hinnant questioned whether the city needs to invest that much money in the project in light of interest expressed by developer Corporate Realty.

He also worried that the cost, which includes replacing two roofs and patching others, would be only a temporary fix and lead to more costs down the road. If the buildings continue to sit vacant for years, the patched roofs would deteriorate, he said.

“Chances are instead of spending $200,000, we’ll end up spending $1 million on roof repairs before it’s over with before we ever sell this property,” he said. “We may be just making a down payment.”

Councilman Ryan Dayvault said Hinnant was right, but that the investment still felt necessary.

“I think it’s a Band-Aid until we can find somebody to buy the whole thing and really do it the way that it needs to be done,” he said.

Of the money allocated, $250,000 is for clearing debris and mold and replacing roofs. The remaining will be used for cosmetic improvements such as repairing rotten wood and broken windows, graphic window murals on unoccupied buildings, decorative fencing and more.

In other business:

• The council approved a resolution authorizing the upset bid process for 61 Kansas St.

Currently, the city has received a written offer from Matthew C. Erich to purchase the 0.24-acre parcel for $45,000. The total tax value for the property is $78,730.

A minimum qualifying upset bid would be $47,300.

• Councilmen Dayvault and Van Rowell were appointed to the Core Working Group for the Gem Theatre Master Plan.

The city is working with Clearscapes, an architectural firm with significant experience with historic theaters, to develop a conceptual master plan for the theater.

The purpose is to develop a way to incorporate disability-accessible restrooms as well as to evaluate its long-term potential.

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