RED SPRINGS — The Red Springs Board of Commissioners on Monday got updated on the town’s progress in the Small Towns Economic Prosperity program and in acquiring grants for enhancements to parks and the downtown area.
Letitia Currie, the town’s part-time grant writer and part-time executive director of the STEP program said she is working through the program to make the town’s website more user-friendly and to provide computer and dance classes for residents. She said a design for new signs at the entrances to the town has been approved.
Currie said her top two priorities are finding funding to provide for new filters for the town’s water treatment system and to complete an application for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant that will help the town purchase land it currently leases on East Industrial Drive, where the town’s recreation baseball field is located.
Property owners Robert and Lanette Locklear of Pembroke lowered the land’s purchase price from $88,000 to $55,000 and also agreed to donate $500 to $5,000 a year to the recreation program, Town Administrator James Bennett said.
“We definitely know that we will be purchasing the land to develop that into a better park for our community,” Currie said, “to add soccer fields, football fields, and to make it more appealing so that we can bring in tournaments and things and really be proud of what we have for our children and our community.”
The land purchase must be approved by the board at its next meeting. The board will hold a special meeting Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. to discuss developments in recreation and hold a closed session on economic development.
Currie also said that the town would be applying for the Main Street designation, which would help in applying for grants to improve downtown facades.
“It’s been very busy, but we continue to work, and will continue to move on,” Currie said.
In other action on Monday, the town:
— Approved about $168 in tax releases.
— Approved appointment of Elma Patterson to serve as a member of the Red Springs Historical Commission until 2015. She replaces Rebecca Black, who recently died.
— Approved staggered terms for members appointed to the town’s Planning Board. Three members will be appointed to a three-year term, two to a two-year term and two members for a one-year term. Re-appointment for any member will be a term of three years, and vacancies will be filled for the unexpired term only.
— Established a committee to research options for Alloway Cemetery, which is running out of space. Serving on the committee will be Robbie VanHoy, Mary Pittman, Marcella Grantham, John Hair, Eddy Covil, Tim Mauldin and Barbara Bounds. George Hall, Public Works director, said the town is in a “holding pattern” as to a decision on whether to clear land at the cemetery or contract out the work.
— Heard from Janet Robertson, of the Lumber River Council of Governments, who introduced herself as the liaison for the town of Red Springs.
— Introduced Chamber of Commerce officers Linda Mack, executive director, and Andy Weaver, president.
— Declared four police cars, a riding lawnmower, a cement mixer and miscellaneous office equipment as surplus.
— Approved a settlement with Carolina Transformer Contribution Action Plaintiffs that will require the town to pay $2,750 in legal fees. The settlement, entered in state District Court in 2008, was between the United States Environmental Protection Agency and The Carolina Transformer Company, which had disposed of transformers and accessories in an environmentally unsafe manner.
— Recognized Megan Foxworth, of Red Springs High School, as the town’s student of the month.
— Approved a Farmers Market Committee as follows: Tim Heath, of Red Springs Enterprise Alliance; Commissioner Edward Henderson; local farmers Billy Currie and Ken McDonald; Currie; Police Chief Ronnie Patterson; and town resident Juan Pecina.
— Approved $3,000 from the water and sewer contingency fund for the purchase of piece of machinery that will help cut right-of-ways for water and sewer lines and assist the town with maintenance.
— Approved a budget amendment of about $20,000 from the state Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security Commission. The money is to reimburse the town for unemployment benefits paid.
— Approved a capital budget ordinance for about $874,000 for removal of a 100,000-gallon water tank and replacement of 7,000 linear feet of aged water mains, a project funded by the North Carolina Rural Center and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.