I will have the city council meeting presentation up tomorrow night or Thursday morning. It was a three hour meeting in which many issues were discussed. It will take a lot of time to thoroughly discuss what happened at this meeting and it will have a lot of implications on the future of Hickory. They were loaded for bear with discussions tonight and that is a good things. No major decisions were made on this evening.
1) Public Hearing 1. Consideration of Rezoning Petition 13-15 for Property Located
at the Northeast Corner of Cloninger Mill Road and North Center Street
(NC 127 North). - The City of Hickory has submitted a petition
to rezone 10.1 acres of property located at the northeast corner of
Cloninger Mill Road NE and North Center Street (NC 127 North) from
Neighborhood Center Commercial (NC) to Neighborhood Center Commercial –
Conditional Zoning (NC-CZ). The conditional zoning district will place
additional standards on the district that go above and beyond the
standards contained in the NC district. All standard applicable to the
base zoning district will remain in effect. This public hearing was
advertised on December 6, 2013 and December 13, 2013 in a newspaper
having general circulation in the Hickory area.
The Hound: The Council elected to take no action on this rezoning. This is directly related to the proposed Cloninger Mill park that has already been master planned over four years ago. The park is not going to get built until this associated 10.1 acres is sold. The money from the sale of this property is supposed to be used to develop this park.
This will be a passive park meaning there are no football fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, etc. There would be a walking trail, mountain bike trail, biology classroom, a gazebo, and a conservancy. I believe this is the kind of park that young people would really enjoy and that is why it should have priority status. It was fine for the council to deliberate upon this decision, but there should have been a timeframe placed on the decision, especially if there are developers who are interested in moving forward. I would also like to see any tax monies collected from this property pumped back into the development of this park and other parks in Hickory when development does occur.
This park lies on the outskirts of the city limits and that is the reason why I believe it hasn't been given priority. As I have stated in the past, it is time to invest in areas besides Union Square. It is time to invest from the outside in. It is time to restore some balance in the development of Hickory.
The photos are no longer available, because Google changed the archiving system and I have to get the hard drive repaired that contains these photos, but all of the discussion related to this property is available below in the links.
Cloninger Mill Park - 3rd meeting - The Master Plan - 3/10/2009
You can read excerpts from the first meeting that was held September 24, 2008 here (1st Cloninger Mill Park Meeting) and the second meeting on January 15, 2009 meeting here (2nd Cloninger Mill Park Meeting).
2) Departmental Report 2. Resolution to Create the University City Commission. -
City Council and Lenoir-Rhyne University officials have long desired to
deepen the relationship between the two entities. Recent discussions
have centered on finding ways to increase the student body’s presence in
the community and the young adult population in Hickory while enhancing
the collegiate atmosphere and promoting school pride. These discussions
led to the mutual desire to create a joint city-university commission
that would work to achieve these goals.
The Hound: This is great. I remember when the whole UNC-Hickory discussion took place back in 2007, my thoughts were that LR was getting thrown under the bus. Everyone seemed to be falling all over themselves about the possibilities, but the possibilities weren't realistic. There were some of us who could already see the local economy had become and was further becoming unhinged. There were way too many people who weren't worried about the educational dynamics of the area. They just wanted to build some infrastructure and thought they were mining for gold.
LR is a very good institution of learning. It is the Lutheran University of the region. The only reason it hasn't grown more throughout the last few decades is because the community and the Institution itself held itself back. There are many possibilities and opportunities for growth moving forward.
Hickory - Time to put the Puzzle together
3) Departmental Report 3. Overview of Concept Plan: Main Av - At the December 3rd
Council meeting update on Inspiring Spaces, staff mentioned that the
conceptual master plan for Main Avenue (Main Av) would be highlighted at
the December 17th Council meeting. The project stems from the
citizen-based Inspiring Spaces planning process. Main Av is Phase 1 of a
multi year project which will eventually connect LRU to the LP Frans
Baseball Stadium/Riverfront (Pier 321), Geitner Park and the
improvements funded by the Lackey Family. Cost estimates for Main Av are
being developed and the full plan will be presented to the Inspiring
Spaces Steering Committee and City Council in
a joint meeting scheduled for January 28th.
The Hound: There were a lot of detailed pictures and conceptualized plans and they do look nice. This presentation had a lot of eye candy, but no costs were addressed. This is a very interesting plan, but it is obviously going to cost a ton of money.
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