By Christina Beals. October 10th, 2017. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Though relatively brief, Tuesday’s Town Council meeting covered a range of important issues, including the potential stationing of an ambulance at the Blowing Rock Fire & Rescue Station and new information about outdoor lighting released after closed session.
Virginia Tech Landscaping Redesign
In the Fall of 2016, Blowing Rock applied for a grant through the NC Forestry Service, receiving the funds in April of 2017.
The grant was to pay the design team from Virginia Tech to construct a landscaping re-design that could include the front and back of the American Legion Building, the back of Memorial Park, along Park Avenue, and the walkways between all of them.
Primarily, the main focus on the American Legion building’s landscape is to make the area facing Broyhill park more usable and accessible to the public.
Right now, it’s virtually unusable by anybody but goats — and we don’t have any goats.
“If you’re familiar with that now, it’s all wooded and steep. And it’s virtually unusable by anybody but goats – and we don’t have any goats,” town manager Ed Evans stated regarding the area.
Evans presented the visual media presentation of the outcome of Virginia Tech’s design efforts over the past year.
Throughout the presentation, Evans showed “before” and potential “after” pictures of the all areas that were qualifying for redesign, starting with the rear area of the American Legion.
The motion to improve the conceptual design was approved in a 6-0 vote.
Ambulance Service Coming?
During the Manager’s Report, Ed Evans took time to speak about the arising conversation throughout Blowing Rock involving hopefully receiving local emergency services for citizens.
“A number of people have been working on this for a very long time,” Evans said. “We are actually getting ready to hear some of the outcomes; some of the fruit of the labors of those that have been so involved.”
I want the town to get in front of any rumors.
To a silent, yet engaged room filled with constituents, Evans elaborated on the work being done to hopefully have an ambulance service added to the town.
“Because there have been some developments, I want the town to get in front of any rumors you’re hearing that have been started. The Watauga County commissioners are looking at the possibility of this, and they are scheduled to have their commissioner meeting a week from today,” Evans stated. “So, they are at the point where they are giving some serious consideration to what they need to do, whether it is in Blowing Rock or somewhere else.”
It was also made it clear that nothing has been determined yet regarding the matter. Evans also introduced John Welch, Watauga County commissioner, to give further information.
“I can’t necessarily confirm or deny anything right now, because we are waiting on five votes, but I just want to take this time to thank the leadership of the (Blowing Rock) mayor and council members,” Welch said. “The county commission, in their budget this year made a commitment to expand emergency services throughout the county. We just finished a new base out on the western end that is providing some benefits for folks out on that side of the county.”
With new emergency services being spread throughout areas surrounding Blowing Rock, the future for local services looks promising.
Intersection Lighting Update
No votes were conducted during the closed session of Tuesday’s meeting. When the Commissioners re-convened in open session, Evans spoke about the progress made on the town’s outdoor lighting.
“Blue Ridge Energy will be starting installation of intersection lighting within the next couple of weeks, and will be doing some of the lighting on 321 corridor,” Evans continued. “They don’t have all of the poles that they need – they’ve had to reorder, and won’t be coming in until at least December. Lighting will probably not be continued until Spring.”
The meeting was adjourned just before 8 p.m.