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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting - September 2, 2014

1) The meeting started out with the President of Sipe Construction, Bill Burton, speaking during Persons Requesting to be Heard. There was a misunderstanding about the details of the occupancy requirement attached to Hickory Inc.'s vacant building grant of $9,917. That was when Alderman Lail made a motion to move this issue to the end of the meeting during during Matters not on the Agenda.

During Persons requesting to be Heard, Mr Burton stated that Lenoir-Rhyne (LR) will occupy (lease) the entire building for their nursing program. LR has had an issue with moving forward with the program, because a key person, in the accreditation process, who was to have been associated the program ended up not taking the job. That is the reason why there will be a delay in the implementation of the program of one year, but LR is paying the lease and thus by most definitions are occupying the building.

During Matters not on the Agenda, Alderman Lail stated that if he had the information that Mr Burton had presented this night, at the past meeting, that he would have voted differently, Alderman Zagaroli and Alder Patton concurred, subsequently a motion was made and seconded and then the entire council voted unanimously to award the grant to Sipe Construction.

Hound Notes: Whether you are for or against all of the incentives, the man met his obligations and should be paid. Glad the misunderstanding was corrected.

2)The Council went through the formalities in having the public hearing associated with the Convention Center Parking Deck. City Manager Berry presented the information. He mentioned that the interest rate will be 2.94% over 15 years. This parking deck will add 157 parking spaces to what are already available. The actual financing agreement will be voted upon at a later date.

3) The Council then went through the formalities in awarding the bid to Matthews Construction to build the parking deck. City of Hickory is responsible for the facility. Matthews was the low responsible bid of $2,567,000.

4) Chuck Hanson went over the site plan for the Transportation Insight site. Mr. Hanson's main point of discussion was the infrastructure that will be associated with the site. The main issue seemed to be with a parking lot that will be associated with the building and stormwater drainage associated with that parking lot. He talked about being good stewards for downstream infrastructure on our (City) property. Water retention is taking place on this property. He spoke about Main Avenue Way and that it has no curb and gutter or sidewalk along it. He says that this is the time to upgrade this side of Main Avenue Way from 3rd St back over to Hwy 127. There is going to be a left turn lane created into the property from Hwy 127.

5) Pictures were shown of the 46th Avenue NE Bridge in the amount of $942,202.05. The  contingency in the project budget for a total amount of $1,035,000.

24 foot pipe was washed out. Rock wall and corrugated pipe ended up collapsing into the waterway. Potential (of repeat) will be lessened by not putting the pipe back and by replacing it with a bridge. Contractor will begin making things happen 15 days after contract is awarded. Should take 8 months to complete. FEMA will reimburse after the bridge is completed and audited. It would have cost more to put the roadway back in the original condition than to design it this way.+

6) Covenants involving the 1764 project - page 338 of the City Council Agenda Packet

New agreement between city of Hickory, Catawba County puts conditions on park 1764
- Hickory Daily Record - Scott J. Bryan - September 3, 2014

7)  Shuford Mills, LLC received a Vacant Building Demolition Grant in the amount of $20,000 in January 2014 to assist in the demolition of the former AA Shuford Mill located at 1360 Highland Avenue NE. They have requested a 120 day extension in order to save a portion of the original exterior wall. Saving this portion of the wall will require additional construction work and additional time to complete.

Hound Notes: I have been by this property twice. I thought this column would run the entire length of the old building. It doesn't even run a block. I don't understand why Shuford Mills got this grant. It comes down to skin in the game. You had two members of the family serve on the Inspiring Spaces Committee. You had legislation passed that allowed them to save money by allowing them to bury the demolished structures on the property footprint. That was supposed to be the Economic Incentive to demolish the structure the way I understood it. I'm sure they will get more money when they develop the property.

6) The Block 108, LLC has applied for a Vacant Building Revitalization Grant in the amount of $30,000 to assist in the renovation of a former mill building located at 108 South Center Street. The applicant plans to invest approximately $763,900 in real property improvement to rehabilitate the facility for use as an office for a general contractor, a motorcycle restoration business, office uses, a salon, and seven “loft” style apartments. In accordance to the program guidelines, all approvals must be in place before the applicant begins work on a project. Significant construction activity on the project has already begun. The roof work that represents a large portion of the project is already nearly complete.

The Council unanimously awarded this grant though City Staff did not recommend it, because the LLC did not apply for it in a timely fashion according to Dave Leonetti. The Business Development Committee did recommend the grant. Alder Patton stated that "We are pushing success stories and this is a success story"... Alderman Zagaroli, "He has made vast improvements."

Hound Notes: I just remember how Ray Hunt, the former owner of this building, was treated about this property a few years ago. The Council is falling all over themselves to help the "right people". I have seen people have their properties bought for 10¢ on the dollar or less to see others turn around and remodel with Hickory Inc. incentives (MERKA). Must be nice.

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of April 20, 2010 - Ray Hunt speaks during Persons Requesting to be Heard

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