LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council voted Wednesday to move forward, in spite of opposition, with two downtown plaza revitalization projects.
Meeting as the Council Policy Committee, the council members gave initial approval for a $553,700 contract with Hayes Inc., a Fayetteville general contractor, to work on projects in the downtown plaza and an alleyway between Third and Fourth streets behind the Carolina Civic Center at 315 N. Chestnut St. The installation of way-finding signage also is included in the project.
The city has $194,340 in grant money to help cover the contract costs.
John Cantey Jr. was the only council member to vote against the contract.
“I’m all for the revitalization of our city,” Cantey said. “I understand there’s a deadline we have to meet, and we may not get this funding again, but it’s just going to be hard for citizens of Precincts 5, 6 and 7 to understand that the city is finding $250,000 or $300,000 in their general fund budget to enhance the appearance of the downtown area. Precincts 5, 6 and 7 probably still have another 300 families out of their homes, and no money has come down yet from the state.”
The board also voted on designs for two different city pins. One version is only to be worn by winners of the Pride in Lumberton award, and the other is for council members and ceremonial uses, such as honoring a retiring city employee.
The background of both pins includes golden tobacco leaves on a blue background. The distinguishing feature for the Pride in Lumberton version is the award’s name appearing near the top of the pin beneath the city of Lumberton insignia.
Recipients of the Pride in Lumberton award, which is to be given to individuals who perform acts of valor or make a significant difference in the community, must be approved by the council. Lumberton resident D.J. Powers, who helped apprehend a suspect in the Jan. 23 robbery of PNC Bank by holding him at gunpoint until law enforcement officers arrived, will be the first recipient of the Pride in Lumberton pin.
Council members agreed to, at the very least, give each of four children with special needs who will be participating in the Rumba on the Lumber in March a Pride in Lumberton certificate. The recipients have not yet been identified.
The council members also approved acting as a guarantor for the Lumberton Youth Baseball Association, which will host the Dixie Youth Baseball AA World Series from July 27 to Aug. 8. LYBA is responsible for about $30,000 in event costs.
In other business, the council:
— Heard a presentation from Richard Monroe, of Rediscover Downtown Lumberton. Monroe presented a model of an artistic feature created by artist Melvin Morris. The piece, pending the board’s input, would go in the downtown plaza and cost the city nothing. Monroe also discussed benches and trash receptacles for the proposed downtown pedestrian walkway.
— Authorized tax releases for January.
— Authorized the advertisement of delinquent taxes for 2017-2018.
— Approved a contract with The Wooten Company to design the Northwest Sewer System Improvement Project. The project’s administration fee is $74,700 and the construction observation fee is estimated at $36,400. Funding will come from the Water and Sewer Capital Reserve Fund.
— Approved another contract with Wooten for the 6-inch Water Main River Crossing Project. Administrative fees are $27,950 and construction observation fees are estimated at $7,500.
— Approved the hiring of Blue Ridge Geological Services for a vapor intrusion evaluation at the Town Common and First Street Demolition Site. The contract is for $6,960.
— Approved the purchase of a new asphalt tack machine for the city and a new 2018 Dodge Durango for the Public Works Department.
— Approved the final plat for seven single-family lots in section three of the Amberdale Subdivision, off Meadow Road.
— Approved rezoning for the second phase of a senior living facility on Dunn Road.
— Denied a non-contiguous annexation petition for property located at N.C. 711 and Deep Branch Road. The board denied a similar petition for the same property in September 2008.
— Approved the deobligation of a $7,000 grant given to the Robeson County Disaster Recovery Committee in June because it has not been used, and $561 to go to the Community Watch Program in Precinct 5.
— Approved the designation of $375 from community revitalization funds for Black History Programs in Precinct 5 and $200 for the Lion’s Club in Precinct 7.
— Agreed to begin taking steps toward amending and updating the city’s Municipal Charter.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected]