ROCKINGHAM — An “unused” downtown alleyway will be abandoned following the approval of the City Council on Tuesday.
According to city documents, the 15-feet-wide alley between Leak Street and East Broad Avenue (U.S. 74 Business) “exists only on paper.”
“It was never actually constructed and utilized by any of the adjoining property owners,” according to a staff report to the Planning and Zoning Board included in the agenda packet.
Ed Ladd, of Dave’s Welders Supplies, requested on Jan. 20 that the city abandon the alley, according to Assistant City Manager John Massey, who added that Ladd owns another piece of property on the other side of the alley.
He added that other adjoining businesses, Serrano’s Tires and W &W Auto Sales, are already using the right-of-way.
By statute, the former alleyway will be divided equally among the adjoining property owners, according to Massey.
He added that the planning board recommended the alley be abandoned.
The City Council adopted a resolution of intent at the February meeting and following a public hearing — with no public input — the council approved the abandonment.
FOOD KING PROJECT
Local contractor Hudson Paving had the low bid for a resurfacing job at the former Food King property on East Washington Street, according to City Manager Monty Crump.
“When they’ll start, we’re not sure, but it’s in their queue to go ahead and finish,” Crump told council members. “Obviously, we would like to get it done as quick as possible.”
Crump referenced the spring start of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Getdown — which features a variety of food trucks each Monday from 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. and begins in April — and said there could be a brief interruption as the project is completed.
The City Council approved the $60,000 purchase of the property in February of 2018.
Last October, Massey presented to the council a concept that shows a space for a restaurant on the end near the parking lot, with space for an outdoor patio, as well as two other storefronts on the west side of the building.
The city was allocated $300,000 from the state budget, proposed by state Rep. Ben Moss, for the project.
Crump said in October that the price tag for the repairs and up-fitting utilities is estimated to cost $2.5-3 million.
Crump said the city had a staff meeting earlier in the day to start working on the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The city manager added that there have been meetings with the county regarding sales tax allocations, since the agreement reached last June only extended through the current fiscal year.
In April 2020, the Richmond County Board of Commissioners voted to change the method of sales tax allocation from per capita, which is based on population, to ad valorem, which is based on property values.
That change resulted in a loss of funding for the county’s municipalities.
“We had discussions with them at the last quarterly meeting and we’re waiting to hear from them on what their plans are to provide sales tax monies to all the municipalities (for the next fiscal year),” Crump said.