Town of Spencer gets first look at downtown park project

Published 12:04 am Thursday, March 10, 2022

SPENCER – Town board members Tuesday night got their first look at what a park project outside its new town hall could look like.

The board saw a pair of preliminary plans created by Benesch, the planning and architecture firm working with the town on a handful of projects: its new master parks plan, the trail development at Wil-Cox Bridge and the downtown park. The drawings are similar, with the main difference being the area in front of a more than 12,000 square-foot lawn. Board members have a choice between a round trellis stage area or a covered, open-air pavilion.

The pavilion plan would be 2,800 square feet with restrooms. The trellis design places restrooms and a small farmer’s market area off to the side of the event lawn. Landscape Architect Jeff Ashbaugh requested the board give a general preference on the two designs.

The general consensus from the board was for the pavilion design. Special Projects Manager Joe Morris said the space would be multifunctional and could serve as an entertainment venue, farmer’s market or meeting space.

“I think it offers so much more potential in terms of use,” Alderman Sam Morgan said of the covered pavilion design.

Morris said the pavilion would be somewhat of a visual impediment to the town hall, but it would frame the building well and be “prominently displayed.”

Mayor Pro Tem Patti Secreast said the pavilion calls back to the original park on the corner.

Both designs include a 20-space parking lot directly in front of the town hall, a decorative fountain, paving and landscaping around the park area.

Mayor Jonathan Williams said town’s Winterfest event was included in the consideration of the designs.

There is no cost estimate on the project yet. The town is seeking a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant for the project.

In other news from the meeting:

• The board approved renaming a section of South Spencer Avenue as Meadow Street. Town Zoning Administrator Steve Blount said the issue originated when the county said there were some addressing issues in the area and the logic of the road was “lacking.”

The section where the street intersects Meadow Street and ends at First Street will be renamed and this will readdress four properties as a result. Blount said the county agrees this is a good solution.

• The board approved a budget amendment to accept a donation to purchase $500 worth of books for the town library.

• The board adopted a resolution supporting non-partisan municipal elections, pushing back on a resolution from Rowan County Republicans asking all of the county’s municipal and school board elections be made partisan.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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