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County considers $18.93 million West End Plaza proposal

SALISBURY — On Monday, the Rowan County commissioners considered a proposed design for renovating a section ofWest End Plaza to house several agriculture-focused agencies.

The plans were put forth by the firm ADW Architects, of Charlotte, which was hired to create a proposal to move Rowan County Cooperative Extension, the soil and water conservation district, N.C. Forestry Service and the Farm Service Agency to West End Plaza, owned by the county since 2013. The proposal estimated renovation costs to create offices for an “Agricultural Center” at roughly $2.9 million; construction costs for an events space at $7.6 million; and exterior renovations and parking valued at roughly 5.1 million.

ADW offered a proposal for exterior renovations and parking elsewhere at West End Plaza, valued at roughly $3.2 million, during its Monday presentation. This would include traffic circles, sidewalks and exterior upfits in its design not found in Option 1.

If the county chooses to pursue all options, the cost would be $18.93 million.

If the county decided to pursue Options 1 and Option 2, it could execute them in phases, commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said in an interview.

Commissioner Craig Pierce raised concerns during the meeting about the proposed costs, saying, “I am not against the plan (for West End Plaza). I am just against that much money all at one time.”

“We are putting out money for the schools that same year,” Pierce said.

Pierce went on to say he would like to have more information about how the county could fund the West End Plaza project. Other commissioners echoed that sentiment.

Commissioner Judy Klusman said most of the feedback she has received related to West End Plaza focused on when commissioners are going to do something. Klusman also raised concerns about parking at West End Plaza in its current state, saying it is incredibly dangerous.

Klusman agreed that commissioners should have a workshop.

Commissioner Mike Caskey echoed that opinion in an interview after the meeting, saying he feels the progress with West End Plaza project is going slow. And, in the meeting, Caskey added that the idea of a workshop on the topic is a good idea.

The workshop is smart, Edds said.

Commissioners tabled further discussion on ADW’s design proposals for an “open house,” which will be held after their 3 p.m. Aug. 5 meeting. The open house would be followed by a budget workshop later that week.

In other business: 

• The commissioners voted unanimously to accept the low bidder ––STI Institutional and Government — to fund capital improvements for Rowan-Salisbury Schools and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

The amount by STI to be financed is $7.1 million at an interest rate of 2.04%. No one spoke during a public hearing on the matter.

• The board voted unanimously to move $420,000 out of “contingency” to fund the Rowan County Rescue Squad.

• The commissioners voted unanimously to give Chandler Concrete a temporary, 12-month permit to build a concrete batch plant on Long Ferry Road. The plant will provide material for Chewy.com’s distribution plant at 255 Front Creek Road.

• The board voted unanimously to change an approved tax incentive agreement with “Project Care” to include a description of an adjacent parcel the company has acquired.

This change was made “since a portion of their proposed improvements will take place on the newly acquired land,” says a letter from Scott Shelton, vice president of the Rowan Economic Development Commission.

Contact reporter Samuel Motley at 704-797-4264.

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