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Spencer approves $24,900 amendment to rework municipal complex project

By Carl Blankenship

SPENCER – The town’s Board of Aldermen approved a change to plans  at a Thursday special meeting to transform the old Park Plaza into the town’s new municipal complex.

“The goal was to take that place, close down this building and move the police department and the town hall into the Park Plaza,” said Town Manager David Treme.

The original plan also included a park on the edge of the plaza off of Salisbury Avenue. Though, when the project was bid, Treme said, the price was high enough that the town felt like it needed to remove the park from plans to bring the cost down to include essentials and still move forward.

Reworking the plans will include an additional $24,900 in design fees paid to architecture firm Studio Wales to repackage the project for the bidding project. The cost was reduced by about $9,000 based on feedback the firm received at the board’s last regular meeting.

Mayor Jonathan Williams, an engineer, said he has heard differing stories on contractors pushing ahead or pulling back, adding the longer the town waits the more it could jeopardize the project.

“I do feel like that the proposed fees are in line with what they should be,” Williams said.

The town also discussed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic at the meeting, taking the time to update the board and Facebook Live viewers on the state.

The country, state and county have all declared a state of emergency. Rowan County municipalities have followed suit. Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties announced shelter-in-place orders this week, and there were a dozen confirmed cases of the respiratory infection in Rowan on Thursday.

Williams mentioned business continuity planning to keep town operations going long-term, but he does have hope the pandemic could not last as long as worst estimates.

“We do need to be prepared,” Williams said. “We need to be prepared for the worst. I think that we are working very closely with our county, with our emergency management, health department, law enforcement and first responders.”

The town live-streamed the meeting for the first time and is looking at ways for the town to participate in meetings without being there in person. Treme told the board they may want to continue to live stream its meetings after the pandemic subsides and limits on crowd sizes are lifted.



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