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.