Last updated: October 12. 2013 4:26PM - 1823 Views
By - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

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Mount Airy officials are eyeing a possible $23,000 project to extend a sidewalk along South Main Street from a Subway restaurant to the Ararat River Bridge, which also could include an access to a greenway there.

Those possibilities were discussed recently at a meeting of the city Public Works Committee, when updates were given on various projects.

Public Services Director Jeff Boyles said a key element of the plan involves an offer by the owner of Chase & Charli Restaurant by the River regarding the providing of a public entry point there to the Ararat River Greenway.

It runs right by the business, starting at Riverside Park and extending to B.H. Tharrington Primary School, but there is now no easy way to access the greenway at that location.

“They have talked about putting in a deck,” Boyles said of restaurant personnel, “and providing access to the greenway.”

As explained by the public services director, this then could present a need to allow pedestrians a safe way to get from the main part of town to the new greenway access point, depending on the volume of users.

That’s where the additional sidewalk would come into play, involving a 1,500-foot extension.

“It would be a good place for us to have one,” Boyles added of a walkway that would lead from the Subway site at the former Simmons Nissan location to the river/greenway.

“It all kind of fits in together,” he said of the new greenway access and sidewalk extension, “a nice tie-in there.”

One goal of city government, as evidenced by the recent adoption of a long-range pedestrian plan, has been providing safer ways for residents to access key locations in town by foot, including recreation facilities.

Thursday’s discussion indicated that the greenway access plan has been under discussion for months, but suffered a setback when a fire struck the Chase & Charli restaurant in May.

“The fire set them back some,” Boyles said. “But I think business is good now.”

Solar Farm Stalled

Also Thursday, Boyles reported that plans to develop a solar farm at the site of a former landfill on City View Drive are on hold.

It was reported in May that Petra Engineering PLLC, a Huntersville firm, had approached Mount Airy officials with a proposal for developing the solar photovoltaic power plant which would involve paying $125,000 for use of the city-owned land.

Mount Airy leaders have viewed this project as a productive use of a site that has largely sat vacant for about 30 years since the landfill was closed.

But the development of the solar farm could take longer than planned.

“It’s not dead, it’s just moving slowly,” Boyles said Thursday.

The holdup involves Wayne Marshall, a co-owner of Petra Engineering, trying to arrange financing for the project, viewed as a difficult proposition in a tight money market.

Boyles thinks the company official wants to ensure financing will be available before progressing further with the plan.

Lovills Creek Work

Another matter discussed Thursday was a channelization failure along Lovills Creek where flood-control measures were implemented years ago.

It involves an interlocking block system that was installed along strategic sections of Lovills Creek to keep water in check in the event of massive rainfall.

“And it’s come apart in at least one place,” Boyles said in reference to a location between the Mayflower Seafood and Prime Sirloin restaurants along U.S. 52. “And we’re looking for funding for repairs.”

Boyles said it is hoped federal or state grants can be identified which could aid the project.

Charles Anderson, who is with a Winston-Salem organization, the Resource Institute Inc. — which was contracted in 2011 by the municipality to secure grant funding for a greenway connector and related river restoration — is assisting in the grant-seeking process.

Boyles has said the problem poses no flood danger to property along the waterway.

Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or tjoyce@civitasmedia.com.

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