Spencer picks design firm for Yadkin trail project

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2021

SPENCER — The Board of Aldermen on Tuesday picked a familiar designer for its upcoming Yadkin River trailhead project.

The firm is Alfred Benesch, which has headed up design on the Davidson County side of the Wil-Cox Bridge. Firm architect Jeff Ashbaugh has been a frequent contact for Spencer as it has prepared for its own trailhead project on the Rowan County side.

Special Projects Planner Joe Morris told the board initial work on the project was made up of small design fees, but with the project beginning design in earnest with fees to exceed $50,000, the town has to comply with state law that requires governmental units to go through a process that allows other designers to submit qualifications to provide services as well.

Alfred Benesch was the only respondent when the town posted the project. Morris said the firm is already familiar with the projects and grants connected to it. He said he has full confidence Ashbaugh is qualified to lead the team that will manage the design of the process.

Mayor Jonathan Williams said the firm being on board provides consistency that ties the Rowan side of the project into the greater park area. The cost for design services and management of the construction of the trailhead will be included in the budget for the project.

In other news from the meeting:

• The board approved amending the town budget to account for a $100,000 donation from Fred Stanback via his advised fund with Foundation For the Carolinas. The donation is specified to kick start plans for a downtown park on the corner of Park Plaza on Salisbury Avenue. The park was cut from the town’s new town hall project at the plaza because use it could not afford the addition of about $1 million, but the board has committed to building the park.

• Town staff has been meeting with Centralina Regional Council to discuss assistance on administering American Rescue Plan funds. Town Manager Peter Franzese said the town will continue to update the board as it learns about its offerings and there are compliance requirements on both the federal and state levels.

• The board set a public hearing date for a conditional rezoning of 200 South Salisbury Ave. on Dec. 9. The property currently hosts an auto repair service, but it is not zoned correctly for that use and the current tenant is leading the process to have the parcel zoned correctly.

Town Planner Kyle Harris told the aldermen the planning board approved the rezoning of the property and people were generally supportive during a community meeting about the issue, but during the planning board meeting there were some people who spoke against the rezoning, citing concern about the number of vehicles parked around the service center.