Commissioners approve former K&W restaurant’s floor repairs, airport improvements

Published 5:01 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2022

SALISBURY — The long-awaited opening of Laurene’s Cafeteria at West End Plaza has been postponed further while the restaurant’s kitchen floors are repaired.

Perkins Management Services started leasing the former K&W Cafeteria building at 1925 Jake Alexander Blvd W. in late 2020 with plans to open a buffet-style restaurant in the summer of 2021. Those plans were delayed due to supply chain issues and a boiler room break-in that necessitated repairs. To avoid conflict with a restaurant chain of the same name, the company also decided to change the name of the restaurant, which was initially going to be called Perkins Cafeteria, to Laurene’s Cafeteria. Perkins Management Services owns a restaurant of the same name in Charlotte.

Kitchen equipment for the restaurant also was delivered and was going to be installed, but an inspection by Rowan County’s Environmental Health department revealed the kitchen flooring would need to be cleaned and resealed.

Rowan County commissioners on Monday approved repairing the flooring at the county’s expense. The floor repairs will cost no more than $10,000 and will take three to four weeks once a vendor is selected.

Perkins has hosted job fairs and is working with prospective employees with the goal of opening in the spring. The company is behind on rent for several months, but is paying double to catch up, according to County Attorney Jay Dees.

In other business from Monday’s meeting:

• Commissioners approved a request from Airport and Transit Director Valerie Steele to move forward with using $2 million in State Capital Infrastructure Fund money to replace the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport’s instrument landing system and to finish the glideslope project that was started but never completed.

The airport received $5 million in SCIF funding by way of Sen. Carl Ford and Rep. Harry Warren. The money was earmarked for an airport hangar expansion project. However, Steele said the replacement of the instrument landing system is critical and more pressing. Without a properly functioning system, Steele said the airport could lose clients and need to reduce flights.

With the board’s approval, Steele will contact Ford and Warren to secure their blessing for $2 million to be used for the instrument landing system. The county is still planning to move forward with construction of a new public safety hangar at the airport.

• The county is moving forward with plans to replace the in-home plumbing of several customers on the northeast water system.

The county has been working to eliminate elevated lead levels in drinking water in several homes on the system, which the county began serving in 2018. The county has collaborated with Salisbury-Rowan Utilities to adjust the chemicals being added to the water to prevent lead seepage and is also building a chemical boost pump station to have more control over the water being sent to homes on the system.

Additionally, the county is going to replace the plumbing in homes that have tested for elevated levels of lead. About nine homes have tested for elevated levels of lead, which is believed to be seeping from pipes in the homes. The board on Monday approved a scope of work from the engineering firm Hazen and Sawyer for the company to begin the replacement process. Hazen and Sawyer will be paid no more than $95,000 to facilitate the plumbing replacement project. No cost will be assumed by the customers having their plumbing replaced.

• Commissioners approved spending $500,000 from the State Capital Infrastructure Funds to pay for a roof replacement at Rowan County’s Facilities Management headquarters at 425 Airport Road. The roof being replaced is over 30 years old. The county will spend an additional ​$275,000 on top of the $500,000 to complete the replacement. Facilities Management staff are responsible for maintaining buildings, grounds, street signs and other needs at county facilities.

• The board authorized Kannapolis City Schools to apply for a Needs-Based Public Schools Capital Fund grant for $50 million in renovations at A.L Brown High School. If the grant is awarded and accepted, the county would be required to match 15%. If the full $50 million is awarded, that would be a $7.5 million match.

The board approved the application on the same night it approved a similar request from Rowan-Salisbury Schools to apply for a $40 million grant to help with the Knox-Overton combined K-8 construction project. The board approved the request from RSS by a 3-1 vote, with commissioner Craig Pierce voting against. The Kannapolis City Schools request was approved unanimously as a consent agenda item.

• Commissioners approved the purchase of 149 automated external defibrillators and 25 cardiac monitors for $1.3 million. The county will provide 140 of the defibrillators to volunteer fire stations throughout the county.

• The board authorized the purchase of five trucks for $229,000 from Modern Chevrolet for the county’s Emergency Services Department.

• Commissioners authorized using $74,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for five temporary staff members for the Department of Social Services through June 30.

• Commissioners approved a letter of support for Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Corporation to apply for USDA broadband funding. The funding would allow the company to expand fiber to the home broadband in northern Rowan County.

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About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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