PEMBROKE — Channing Jones and Theresa Locklear was sworn in for a second term Pembroke Town Council during its regular meeting on Monday.
Both won their re-election bids in the November municipal elections.
“It has been a privilege working with these guys on the board,” Locklear said.
Locklear is the only female to ever serve on the board.
“The town has seen a lot of growth, and the best is yet to come,” Jones said.
The council members were all smiles as they acknowledged Pembroke being named the 2017 Small Town of the Year by the N.C. Rural Center.
The award recognizes communities that embrace citizen engagement, value diversity and foster strong partnerships, according to the Rural Center. In order to receive the award, a town must show progress through innovative economic development projects and programs, and foster an entrepreneur-friendly environment. Nominees should have overcome economic barriers and challenges that have affected rural North Carolina.
In other business, the council approved a request to hold a public meeting about allowing a welcome center to be built within a commercial district near the Lumbee Tribal Housing Complex.
Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin said the tribe hopes to build the welcome center within the next 18 months, but needs the zoning change before soliciting potential partners and funding.
“These are the early stages. The tribe does not yet have the money to fund this,” Godwin said.
He sees the welcome center as being a well-lit place that would make a person feel safe pumping gas at 3 a.m., Godwin said. He hopes to add a restaurant and to display local produce, information on The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and tribal paraphernalia at the center.
The council also:
— Reviewed a request for the town to buy multipurpose mats for use at various sporting events. Purnell Swett High School wrestling coach Nicky Barnes said the school often rents or borrows mats from other schools and it would benefit the town to have its own. The mats would be stored at the high school but owned by the town.
— Tabled a request to amend a land-use permit from single residential to multi-family residence. Pembroke residents Allyson and Cory Lowry requested the change to build four duplexes on Deese Road. Each unit would be 1,100-square-foot, two-bedroom apartments. Board members want more information.
— Agreed to display an approved resolution in Town Hall for special parking for wounded veterans. The resolution was adopted in October. Harold Hunt, commander of Military Order of the Purple Heart First American Chapter 822 in Pembroke, dedicated the framed resolution to the town and thanked the commissioners.
— Approved closing Main Street for two holiday events. The road will be closed from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the Winter Wonderland the town is hosting on Saturday and 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 20 for a holiday event hosted by Calvary Way Baptist Church on the street.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at 910-416-5865 or firstname.lastname@example.org