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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hickory, NC in the national news again

How the China Shock, Deep and Swift, Spurred the Rise of Trump

Many assumed the U.S. would withstand the import threat as it had with Japan, Mexico; devastation in Hickory, N.C.

HICKORY, N.C.—In the late 1990s, this furniture-making hub seemed sheltered from the disruptive forces of globalization. Laid-off steelworkers from West Virginia, Tennessee and beyond streamed here for new jobs building beds, tables and chairs for American homes. The unemployment rate fell below 2%.

These days, Hickory is still suffering from a series of economic shocks, none more powerful than China’s rise as an export power. The invasion of imported furniture drove factories out of business, erased thousands of jobs and helped drive unemployment above 15% in 2010.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Buffalo's Sinkhole resolved update - WMNC-FM radio 92.1 - Richard Garrison report

Hickory City Council held a regular meeting Tuesday night, the open session was only about 15 minutes to deal with an 11- item Consent Agenda, and two informational items along with a Public Hearing concerning a proposal to designate the former Lyerly Full Fashioned Mill as a Historic Landmark in Hickory, the "mill" was constructed in 1930, and operated until 1957 according to city officials, and has mostly been unused in recent years, and in 2007 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A recent Catawba County Tax Office assessment shows the property to have a tax value of 2-million, 840-thousand, 100 dollars.

No one in attendance spoke for or against approval of the Public Hearing, and city council voted 6-0 to unanimously approve the measure. Council member Jill Patton was absent Tuesday night. Next after approving several appointments to Boards and Commissions, Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright motioned for city council to go into a Closed Session, and after more than one hour, Council members returned to open session to announce a decision to authorize the taking of the "sink hole" property along Highway 70 in Hickory, to begin to make repairs along with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, with an estimated cost of 2.2 million dollars, Hickory City Council decided in Closed Session as an economic development to appropriate $550 thousand dollars of the $ 2.2 million dollars to make repairs to the property.

This property is the former site of a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, where in 2002, a brand new Chevrolet Corvette was consumed by the first sink hole, and some time later a second sink hole opened on the property in which the restaurant was closed due to an unstable foundation on the property. Many longtime Hickory residents will remember when this sink hole and loss of the restaurant occurred, along with lawsuits from the former owner of the restaurant filed against the city, as well as an apparent lack of understanding between the restaurant owner and the city as to who was responsible to "FIX" the sink hole and allow Buffalo Wild Wings to resume business. This was never resolved to the satisfaction of the property owner and Buffalo Wild Wings closed permanently at this location as a result. Due to the "Loss" of a brand new 2002 Chevrolet Corvette, "swallowed" beneath the property, this sink hole episode received International attention from various internet sources at the time. Later, the North Carolina Department of Transportation was forced to "close" the portion of roadway in front of the restaurant during heavy downpours due to unusual flooding conditions.

This area was for many years "signed" by the NCDOT, "Roadway" subject to flooding, drive carefully, as a warning of potential dangerous driving conditions during heavy rain in the immediate area.

According to Mayor Wright, these "repairs" beginning in the near future with the start of the process Wednesday, should improve driving conditions along Highway 70 in Hickory when completed. This highway is heavily traveled due to its proximity to Lenoir Rhyne Boulevard in Hickory, along with many busy shopping areas, and businesses.

For WMNC News, I am Richard Garrison reporting.

Richard Garrison

Buffalo sinkhole issue to finally be resolved after a decade

According to sources, City of Hickory will spend $2.2 million in conjunction with the NCDOT to fix the former Buffalo's sinkhole out on Highway 70 Southeast. The sinkhole originally occurred in 2002 and was fixed before re-occurring in 2006 and worsening over time. Flooding has happened in that immediate vicinity due to blockage and that flooding has caused intense damage to adjacent properties near the site. No timetable was given about when work will begin.