At Monday’s (April 18) meeting, the Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing to consider a county parks ordinance as well as rules and hours of operation at the new Courthouse Park and fees for rental of the park and performance stage. Alisha Stamey, Alexander County Park Ranger, presented the items for discussion.
She said the information was originally shared by County Manager Rick French at the board’s March 7th meeting. The purpose of the parks ordinance is to establish and consolidate rules and regulations for all parks that are owned or operated by Alexander County Government and to maintain a clean and safe environment for all park visitors. These rules will apply to the following parks: Alexander County Courthouse Park, Bethlehem Park, Dusty Ridge Park, East Alexander Park, Jaycee Park, Rocky Face Park, and Wittenburg Access Area.
Stamey then presented the proposed rules and hours for Alexander County Courthouse Park and the associated splash pad. After reviewing the hours for 12 splash pads in the region, the proposed operating dates and hours for the splash pad are April 1 through September 30 (seven days a week) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The splash pad would be closed from October 1 through March 31. The hours for Courthouse Park and the park’s restroom will be April 1 through September 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., October 1-31 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., November 1 through February 28 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and March 1 through March 31 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. unless otherwise posted or a special event is planned.
Stamey also presented proposed daily fees for renting Courthouse Park and the Rotary Performance Stage. For local non-profits and for-profits, there is no daily rental fee; however, the rental fee is $100 per day for non-profits and $200 for for-profits located outside the county. Regardless of location, there will be a $150 daily maintenance/cleaning fee plus a $300 refundable security deposit. Stamey said that if the anticipated attendance for an event exceeds 1,000 people, emergency medical personnel and/or law enforcement may be required at a fee of $30 per hour per person with a three-hour minimum.
During the public hearing, there were no comments from the public. Commissioners unanimously approved the parks ordinance, Courthouse Park and splash pad rules and hours, and Courthouse Park and Rotary Performance Stage rental fees.
Stamey also encouraged the public to attend the opening dedication and ribbon cutting for Alexander County Courthouse Park on Sunday, May 15 at 3:00 p.m. followed by a concert at 4:00 p.m. featuring Ultimate Aldean. There will be food vendors and children’s activities.
In other business:
• Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding to enter into a partnership with Spectrum to apply for a Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant to provide broadband internet service to certain eligible unserved areas of Alexander County. If the grant is awarded, Spectrum will construct fiber-to-the-premise internet infrastructure in unserved areas of the county at a cost of $2,220,313. Alexander County Government would provide a financial match of $250,000 using funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The project would bring fiber optic internet service to 390 homes.
At their April 4th meeting, commissioners approved a similar agreement with Yadtel/Zirrus. If that GREAT grant is awarded, the project cost would total $1,233,455 with a county match of $163,815 using ARPA funds. That project would provide internet service for 203 homes.
• Commissioners received an update on Duke Energy’s grid improvement project from Robin Nicholson and Avery Dolinger. Nicholson said that Duke officials met with local stakeholders in July 2021 to discuss the Taylorsville Tie circuit addition, due to its magnitude and related inconveniences to the public.
Dolinger said the project has been underway for a couple of months and is scheduled for completion in October 2022. The project involves the replacement of deteriorated copper lines with an upgrade to a larger cable. Once complete, the Taylorsville circuit will tie into other circuits, resulting in shorter outages with self-healing circuits and two-way feeds. He said the most difficult portion of the project will be along West Main Avenue which will involve some power outages, a lane closure, and an impact on pedestrian traffic.
Nicholson emphasized that the project is inconvenient in the short-term, but will provide significant long-term benefits.
• County Manager Rick French presented two project budget ordinances relating to stream debris removal totaling $388,037, as well as four budget amendments, all of which were approved by commissioners.
• In the County Manager’s Report, Mr. French said the landfill will be closed beginning April 29 at 12:00 p.m. and will reopen on May 2 at 8:00 a.m. The closure will allow for repairs to the transfer station floor. He invited the public to RockyFest on Saturday, April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Rocky Face Park. Mr. French also invited citizens to the opening dedication and concert at the new Alexander County Courthouse Park on Sunday, May 15 beginning at 3:00 p.m. He noted that May 25 marks the 10th anniversary of Rocky Face Park.[Story courtesy of Rick Gilbert, WACB]