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Originally published: 2014-03-17 11:51:44
Last modified: 2014-03-17 13:19:36

Blowing Rock Town Council approves project to help repair closed road

by Jeff Eason

The Blowing Rock Town Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a bid from Uretek IRC, Mid-Atlantic to undertake the repairs needed to reopen Wonderland Trail, a roadway that suffered  erosion damage during summer storms in July 2013. 

The roadway has been closed to vehicle traffic since that time. 

The council, minus councilman Dan Phillips, who was out of town, voted unanimously to approve Uretek's bid of $329,973 for the project. 

Town engineer Doug Chapman said in the report that his staff recommends that the town council increase the Federal Emergency Management Agency and North Carolina Department of Public Safety funding currently appropriated for the project by $104,973 to accommodate the total of estimated costs of the project, including "the construction bid and the survey, design, bidding, and construction administration of $45,000 for a total estimated project cost of $374,973."

The additional $104,973 revenue appropriation for the project would be funded by FEMA (75 percent) and NCDPS (25 percent) funds. 

The town council also voted unanimously to: 

Approve the Blood, Sweat and Gears annual charity bike ride planned for Saturday, June 28. All riders in the event are expected to pass through Blowing Rock by 8:30 a.m., and the Blowing Rock Police Department has prepared a traffic plan that will accommodate the group. No road or lane closures are anticipated. 
Approve the Oasis Shriners' Blowing Rock Summer Ceremonial dates of Friday, May 30, through Sunday, June 1. More than 100 Shriners and their families and friends are expected to attend the event, which will include a parade down Main Street beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 31. 

Approve a motion nominating Laurin Carter to fill a vacant seat on the town's board of adjustment. 

Recognize a $400 donation to the town from Annette Greene-Mayes to improve the lighting of the American flag in Memorial Park. 

Approve a conditional use permit regarding a request from Blowing Rock Resort Ventures LLC to make a small addition and exterior modifications to the cottage units at Martin House properties on Main Street. 

Approve a CUP from Tussell Land Company to make substantial exterior modifications to the former Goodwin Weavers building, located on Cornish Road. 

Approve a capital planning initiative from McGill Associates in order to itemize and quantify potential capital project and related funding needs in the upcoming fiscal year 2015 and 10-year capital improvement plan cycle. 

According to town manager Scott Fogleman, the services would cost the town $19,600 and would take about one month to complete once initiated. 

Approve spending $23,000 of previously unrecognized sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2014 to be used to remove 46 dead and dying trees from town property. 

Many of the trees are hemlocks that have been devastated by the woolly adelgid blight of the past decade. 

321 update

At the beginning of the monthly public meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council, Kipp Turner of Maymead Construction gave the council and the public an update on the U.S. 321 widening project. 

"Apart from the last couple of days, weather has been an issue this past month and has limited the amount of progress," Turner said.  "We have resumed blasting and hauling away rock at the Cliff Dwellers site. We will have much of that cut out to road grade over the next month. We are also in the process of addressing rock stability issues in the lower rock strata at that site. 

"The subcontractors who will be undertaking the staining process of the walls started today."

Turner said that underground sewer and utilities work is continuing and that the public should expect a traffic shift in front of the Blowing Rock Fire Station on Valley Boulevard in the near future. 

"We need some more days like the last couple of days and we could really get some work done," he said, making note of the springlike weather earlier this week.

The next regularly scheduled public meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council will take place at town hall at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8.