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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting - August 19, 2014

Agenda about the City Council meeting of August 19, 2014

*** The tone of this meeting was much better with the Mayor allowing back and forth interaction on the Oktoberfest issue.

A. Mr. Alan Barnhardt, Executive Director, Catawba Science Center will discuss the
uniqueness of Catawba Science Center, what it is doing to promote the local economy, and the newest featured exhibition – Furniture. Well Crafted.

*** Mr. Barnhardt's presentation will be provided in the Newsletter presentation. Below is a video he presented to Council.

 Visit Catawba Science Center's latest exhibit Furniture. Well Crafted. Science + Innovation + Technology - For more information:

B. Ms. Bebe Leitch, CEO, Hickory Metro Convention Center, presentation of a Resolution to Hickory City Council
Ms. Leitch presented a resolution detailing the history and direction, through the years, of the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors' Bureau and the Convention Center... how the entities been funded, developed, and have evolved.

C. Representative of Hickory Downtown Development Association – Discussion of Oktoberfest

Hound Notes: One of the key issues of the night. Tracy Nestor presented information related to the operational hours of this year's festival. Oktoberfest has for years been closing between 11pm and 11:30pm. This year a closing time of 10pm was imposed on the festival. The festival coordinators asked for a compromise and eventually it was granted by the city council. The Festival will close at 10:30pm. (According to the HDR, the festival will close at 11pm and it is the beer sales that will end at 10:30pm).

Personally, I'm tired of the leaders of this community having a desire to roll up the sidewalks after dark. It blows me away how unrealistic it is. I understand that the people on the Council relate to Codgers, but it is ridiculous. Hickory Alive and the Sails events have had their operational hours reduced to 9pm from the previous 10pm. Ms. Nestor and another lady, the head of the Jaycees, talked about how this has had a negative impact on their revenues this year and it will have an effect on their upcoming operational budget.

Mayor Wright, the Council, and Chief Adkins went back to the issue of unsupervised kids roaming the streets of Hickory. They say that this is an issue of Public Safety. We've heard this before over the past several years. Nothing is being resolved other than for people who act properly to have to endure an imposition based upon the possibility that someone else might do something wrong -- gonna throw the baby out with the bath water.

Because in the end, we can put society on lockdown and things are still going to happen and then the reaction is to tighten things down even further. None of this makes me feel safer... It makes me feel claustrophobic.

Remember This: June 27, 2011

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. (a) Vacant Building Grant Program. - Update City Council on the status of the Vacant Building Grant program and request changes to the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant Program guidelines, to appropriate fund balance for projects in progress across the most recent fiscal year for which final payments have not been made, and to appropriate fund balance for an additional amount of grant funding for project that are in the initial stages of review and could be awarded a grant in FY 2014-2015.
(b) Amend Vacant Building Grant Agreement from Jack Sipe Construction Company. (First Reading Vote: Unanimous)

Hound Notes: The Council on this night voted to change the Vacant Building Grant Program in a way that will help to better spread the funds. Dave Leonetti presented information detailing these changes. They also agreed to fund $40,000 for projects already agreed to and $40,000 for anticipated projects upcoming in this fiscal year.

Jack Sipe Construction was to receive two $40,000 grants. One grant was to be paid upon completion of the project. The other would not be paid until the building was occupied within a defined period. The first of those grants was allowed even though there were delays in the completion of the project. On this night, the second $40,000 grant was denied, because the planned building occupier (Lenoir-Rhyne) will not be moving into the building until next July.

***  Pointed out by a Hound Viewer  ***
One correction to your comments regarding the Jack Sipe Construction grant....the original total of the grant was $19,834 of which half, $9,917 was paid on Dec 15, 2010.  The other half is what the Council did not approve.  There were never two $40,000 grants.  Reference the info provided in the July 15, 2014 Council meeting.

Below are the details of the changed grant process. Anyone notice anything related to the map of the project locations:

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