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FEMA funds will help with trail repairs at Granite Quarry’s Centennial Park

By Mark Wineka

mark.wineka@salisburypost.com

GRANITE QUARRY — The Board of Aldermen moved Monday night to repair trails in Centennial Park that were damaged by washout and downed trees during Hurricane Florence last fall.

The good news is much of the cost will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mid Carolina Construction will add gravel and rework the nature trails “to before-storm-damage condition,” interim Town Manager Larry Smith reported. Work also will add rip-rap to the Bank Street culvert area.

The town must absorb the costs first, before being paid back by FEMA. Smith suggested transferring $31,840 from the fund balance to pay for the repairs.

That amount will be reimbursed by FEMA.

In addition, $29,675 will come out of the fund balance for which FEMA will reimburse the town 75%. The town will end up being responsible for the remaining 25%, or $7,419.

Mid Carolina Construction quoted a price of $27,300 for 700 tons of pit gravel for the walking trails, hauling the gravel and installing it, plus $2,375 for 50 tons of rip-rap for the Bank Street culvert.

The trail is about 3,719 feet long and 10 feet wide.

FEMA has yet to weigh in on what it will pay toward flood-damage repairs related to Granite Lake Park.

As for the Centennial Park trail repairs, Alderman Kim Cress asked, “What are we doing to prevent this from happening again?” Mayor Pro Tem Jim LaFevers said in the future, the town should make repairs to the trail as soon as problems occur.

LaFevers participated in Monday’s meeting through a conference call with the board from Durham.

He was unable to return to town Monday after having driven to Duke University Medical Center for a friend, so he discussed and voted on matters through the telephone placed at his seat next to Mayor Bill Feather.

The meeting lasted almost two hours.

In another matter Monday, the board decided to use $42,087 the town has left in its Powell Bill fund for street repairs.

The town has identified street repair projects totaling $114,635, and, at first, LaFevers made a motion that the town address all those paving and pothole repair needs at once.

“The longer we wait, the bigger our holes get,” LaFevers said.

But LaFevers’ motion was voted down 3-2, with Feather providing the deciding vote. Alderman Jim Costantino sided with LaFevers, while Cress and Alderman John Linker were against spending $114,635 now, given that the town will get a $87,000 Powell Bill allotment for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Both Cress and Linker said some money has to be set aside to address the condition of sidewalks in town.

“Taxpayers expect us to maintain the streets,” Costantino said.

“And sidewalks,” Cress added.

The town Maintenance Department has the entire list of street repairs it wants to make, with quoted prices by Carolina Siteworks of China Grove. Maintenance Director Jason Hord will prioritize and address what he can before June 30 with the $42,087 approved Monday night.

In other business Monday, the aldermen approved the purchase of several items and made budget amendments to do so. All the items were given high priority at their budget retreat in February.

Aldermen set aside $26,000 for a digital sign outside Town Hall, where the current sign is now.

The new electronic sign will have text, picture, graphic, video animation and time-and-temperature capabilities.

But aldermen will have to decide on the resolution it wants and the size. One concern is fitting the new sign into the granite frame, which the Granite Quarry Civitan Club provided years ago.

Gold Rule Signs has given the town a couple of options.

The board also moved to upgrade the media equipment in its meeting room at Town Hall. The town will purchase two 70-inch monitors, make them adaptable to wireless and upgrade a laptop computer assigned to the board room.

Costs are expected to be from $2,000 to $2,500. In a budget amendment, the board agreed to transfer $2,500 from the board contingency fund to the administration’s maintenance and repair equipment fund.

Aldermen also approved the purchase of a 14-foot dump trailer for the Maintenance Department. The cost is expected to be about $8.500, and the board agreed not to exceed $9,000.

In other Granite Quarry news:

• The aldermen approved awarding to Sgt. Wayne Trivett his duty weapon, a Glock pistol, at the price of $1 on his retirement.

• The town will sponsor an Easter Egg hunt from 3 to 5 p.m. April 20 at Civic Park.

• A Day in the Garden will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 4 at Granite Lake Park.

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