Granite Quarry board moves to address street, sidewalk needs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 7, 2019

GRANITE QUARRY — The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen committed Monday night to an ambitious $350,000 plan to improve streets and sidewalks.

Under the plan, the town will seek bids to address a long list of street repairs and resurfacing, along with sidewalk improvements. Town Maintenance Director Jason Hord judges that meeting those needs across town will cost roughly $350,000.

The work would not include Salisbury Avenue (U.S. 52), for which the town is seeking state discretionary funds for curb and sidewalk improvements to go with a planned resurfacing of U.S. 52 through Granite Quarry next spring.

The town will have to leverage state Powell Bill funding and a bank loan to pay for the various projects. Overall, aldermen seemed to favor moving on with the improvements as soon as possible, rather than stretching them out for years.

Annual Powell Bill funds will go toward repaying the loan over several years.

For several months, aldermen had been discussing how to proceed with street and sidewalk improvements. The town had $42,000 in 2018-19 Powell Bill funds and expects an additional $82,000 for 2019-20.

But Mayor Pro Tem Jim LaFevers argued the town should go bigger, addressing most of the needs encompassed in an earlier survey of streets by Hord. That’s where the $350,000 estimate came in.

“I just need to know what that number is,” Hord told the board Monday night. “I just really need some clear directions on where to go with our Powell Powell funds.”

In the end, the aldermen decided to go all in with the $350,000 figure.

Alderman John Linker noted the town has other needs beyond the streets, including renovations of the tennis courts at Granite Civic Park.

In another matter that has been discussed in recent months, the aldermen agreed to a three-year lease with the Granite Quarry Athletic Club on a 10-acre tract of town-owned land along Faith Road.

The nonprofit club had asked the town for the lease so it could construct and oversee biking trails and tracks on that property.

The lease agreement calls for the club to pay $1 a year. It will be responsible for constructing bike trails, providing signs and parking, and releasing the town from all injury and any liability that comes from the Athletic Club’s use.

The Athletic Club will obtain liability insurance, and the town will be insured, according to the agreement.

In other business, Town Planner Steve Blount went over a proposal to combine the town’s Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The Planning Board currently has five in-town members, one in-town alternate, four extraterritorial jurisdiction members and one ETJ alternate. Of those 11 positions, five in-town and three ETJ positions are currently filled.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment has five in-town members, one in-town alternate, five ETJ members and one ETJ alternate. Of  those 12 positions, the board has five in-town and three ETJ positions filled at present.

Blount has proposed starting with a merged board of eight in-town members and an in-town alternate, along with five ETJ members and an ETJ alternate.

“The initial appointments would be for one, two and three years with reappointments being for three-year terms,” Blount said in a memo.

The aldermen agreed to allow Blount to draft a text amendment for the change. The text amendment will go first to the Planning Board for review, before a public hearing and official adoption by the town board.

In other Granite Quarry business Monday night, the aldermen:

• Approved several ordinance amendments providing updates and clarifications on the Parks, Events and Recreation Committee; the Community Appearance Commission; the Revitalization Team; and the mayor’s duties.

According to one of the amendments, the mayor will now be an ex-officio liaison to all town committees.

• Received a $5,000 check from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the repair of a culvert on Railroad Street.

• Approved the sale or disposal of surplus items in the Maintenance Department and Fire Department. The Maintenance Department items include two trimmers and a backpack blower.

The Fire Department items include 20 Scott air packs that have been replaced and a 2006 Chevrolet Impala, which used to be the chief’s car. A Fire Department memo says the car has high mileage and is not being used.

• Approved the appointment of Melinda Hege to the Parks, Events and Recreation Committee.

• Learned an “Adult Fish 4 Fun” will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 23 at Granite Lake Park.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.