By David Rogers. August 6, 2017. BLOWING ROCK, NC — A public hearing to consider allowing golf carts to cross Valley Blvd. at Possum Hollow Rd. to Shoppes on the Parkway receives top billing for the regular August meeting of the Blowing Rock Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, 6:00 pm at Town Hall in Blowing Rock, but what happens before the meeting should also receive some attention from various town constituent interest groups.
Sitting commissioner Sue Sweeting, up for re-election in November, announced last week that between August and December she will host community issue discussion forums next door to Town Hall, in the Community Library’s back meeting room, from 5:00 pm to 5:45 pm (immediately before the regular Town Council meetings held in August, September, October, November and December).
“I want to hear from everyone about what their concerns are, as well as their ideas,” Sweeting told Blowing Rock News by telephone on Friday. “If we have enough participation, we’ll continue these sessions after the first of the year.
“Those of us sitting on the Council are not the only smart people in Blowing Rock,” Sweeting said in explaining the reasons behind her initiative. “We have people in this town with a lot of experience in a variety of topics and issues that come before the Council. We need to leverage that talent and insight to the Town’s advantage. Of course we can’t talk about personnel issues or things that might be the subject of a closed session, but everything else is on the table when it comes to these discussions.”
Golf carts crossing Valley Blvd. is not a new subject. They are already permitted at Sunset Drive and will soon be permitted at the South Main St./Skyland Drive intersection with Valley Blvd., which is also known as U.S. 321 by-pass, as soon as the planned and approved traffic light is installed.
Under New Business, the Commissioners will also consider a new Public Art Policy. As drafted by Town staff, the resolution would reflect the Town Council’s wish “…to encourage the creation and installation of public art in Blowing Rock, through both public and private initiatives.”
Included in the draft resolution is a statement that more than 500 other state, county and municipal jurisdictions have established similar programs. It also acknowledges that the revised Comprehensive Plan adopted by the Commissioners in 2014 established a public art program as a priority, particularly along major transportation corridors and in the central downtown district. The resolution provides for the creation of a Public Art Commission and outlines various responsibilities of its members and the scope of the organization.
Among other New Business items, the Council proposes to request that Blowing Rock Town Hall be identified by the Watauga County Board of Elections as a one-stop “early voting” site between October 19 and concluding on Saturday, November 4th.
The Council will also consider alternatives for renovating, tearing down or replacing a storage building behind the Waste Water Treatment plant. Renovation and repair is estimated at $50,000, demolition at $15,000.
The Consent Agenda includes approval of capital equipment expenditures for new Police vehicles ($84,801), Public Works vehicles and equipment ($275,054), a vacuum mower for Parks & Recreation ($12,050), and a truck for Water & Sewer ($33,090). The memorandum also spells out staff recommendations for vendors and financing, and whether or not the items were included in the recently approved Town budget for FY17-18.
Also included on the Consent Agenda is a proposed agreement with Ridgelink, Inc., relating to the Town’s transition to Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone service and Internet broadband, replacing Charter and AT&T services at an expected savings of approximately $20,000 per year.