NORMAN — Mayor Tonia Collins made an announcement Monday evening that she’s been waiting to make for a while: “Norman is 100 percent getting a Dollar General.”
The deal, Collins said, has been in the works for at least a year and she hasn’t been able to officially say anything about it until now.
“We should close in the next couple of weeks,” Collins said. “And once we close the deal … the shovels are going in the ground.”
The town is selling the property on the corner of U.S. 220 and E. Moore Street — the site of an old gas station and the community center — for $5,000, according to Town Clerk Glenda McInnis. Both buildings will be bulldozed.
Councilman Terry Parsons said the community center had reached the point where it needed too much repair.
“There was very little that could be done in there anymore,” added Councilwoman Nancy Paxton. “We’ve been told it wasn’t even worth repairing it — just tear it down and try again, so… It’s a blessing to get it out of here.”
She added: “No one will be camping out in the BP anymore.”
Councilmembers said there was a town resident who had sold his home and has been living in the abandoned gas station.
Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Cranford suggested putting up no trespassing signs and telling the man “he’s got to go.”
The small town near the Montgomery County line has been trying to lure a store like Dollar General or Family Dollar for the past decade.
The closest Dollar General is about 8.6 miles south on U.S. 220 in Ellerbe. The store in Candor is a mile farther.
This would make the ninth Dollar General in Richmond County. There are currently five in Rockingham and two in Hamlet.
However, this location likely won’t be able to sell beer due to its proximity to churches. State statute prohibits the sale of alcohol within 500 yards of a church within the corporate limits of a town.
There are currently only two businesses operating in the town: Matt’s Convenience Store and a beauty supply store.
The demolition of the community center will have a positive impact on the town’s budget, with not having to fork out expenses for gas, electricity, water or insurance.
Town leaders have also accepted a veterans memorial marker, which will feature the names of all veterans from the Norman area listed under each respective branch of service.
The base of the memorial is being paid for by a former town resident who doesn’t want any credit. His only request is that the name of Lonnie Elwood Hoopaugh be added for free.
According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Wall of Faces, Hoopaugh (whose hometown is listed as Candor) was serving in the U.S. Navy when he died on Feb. 11, 1969.
All other names will cost $2.50 per letter.
The memorial will be six feet by four feet and will be placed near the stage. It will take about a year to be put in place.