RED SPRINGS — The groundwork for a renovated park for children that will be ready by spring was laid Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.
The commissioners and the town’s Recreation Commission will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Jan. 18 during which they are expected vote to dedicate the new Brown Street Park for children. Playground equipment is scheduled to arrive in early February.
The park, located off N.C. 211 on the north side of town, was formerly a general use park, but Town Manager James Bennett was able to get help from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to buy playground equipment.
The project will cost the town $7,500, Mayor Edward Henderson said.
“The Recreation Commission has indicated they wish this park to be for children,” Henderson said. “It will be an asset to the community.”
The public hearing will be advertised.
In other action, Red Springs will get two sergeants on its 18-member police force.
The commissioners voted to create the positions, which already are budgeted for fiscal year 2017-18, at the request of Police Chief Ronnie Patterson.
“If you recall, you voted to eliminate the positions last year,” Patterson said. “We did not have anyone in the department qualified at the time.”
Two members of the department are now ready for promotion, Patterson said.
“I commend Chief Patterson because this allowed us to reward members of the police force for their hard work and dedication,” Henderson said.
The town was not able to hear an environmental impact study concerning drainage solutions for Thurlow Street, which was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. The environmental engineering firm hired to study the impact of a drainage project stayed in Raleigh because of the snow expected to fall today in Eastern North Carolina.
“The ditches have been cleaned out and are working well, but we will need more than ditches if there is another heavy rain,” Henderson said. “We are looking at a retention pond.”
The town has $300,000 for the project, and the environmental study is a requirement, Bennett said. The flooding is caused by the convergence of three drainage ditches near Thurlow Street.
Planning for the town-sponsored Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration is well underway, according to Commissioner Murray McKeithan. The location and date will be announced today when the planning committee meets.
An update on smart metering for the town’s electric customers also was cancelled because crews and Electrical Distribution System Director Derrick Edge were cleaning up after an outage caused when a vehicle knocked down a utility pole.
The new meters will allow the town to read meters digitally and turn power to homes and businesses on and off remotely.
Red Springs buys wholesale power from Duke Energy Progress through a consortium of Eastern North Carolina cities and distributes it inside town limits.
Staff writer Scott Bigelow may be reached at 910-644-4497 or by email at [email protected]