Tuesday, 08 October 2019 19:35

Rockingham to auction vacant lot on Caroline Street; campus completion date may get moved

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ROCKINGHAM — A corner lot is going up on the auction block following the approval of a resolution by the City Council on Tuesday.

The now-vacant lot, on the corner of Midway Road and Caroline Street, was formerly the site of a dilapidated boarding house which, according to City Planner and Assistant City Manager John Massey, was "an ongoing code enforcement problem."

Massey said the city accepted the property as a donation in September of 2018 and the boarding house was burned in a live-fire training exercise by the Rockingham Fire Department earlier this year. The property has since been cleared by the Public Works Department.

The address of the 0.4-acre lot is 436 S. Caroline Street.

Massey said several property owners in the area have expressed interest in acquiring the lot to maintain it.

"We would prefer that they own it and maintain it so we don't have to go over and mow it," he added.

The city will start accepting bids at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 at City Hall in the council chambers, according to the resolution. The high bidder will be required will be required to make a deposit of 10% of the bid amount by certified check or certified funds acceptable to the city.

The sale will be subject to the approval of the council at its Dec. 10 meeting.

College Update

Although the completion date for the Richmond Community College downtown campus is still slated for Dec. 2, City Manager Monty Crump seemed doubtful.

"I don't think we're going to make it," he told council members. "That's up to the contractor and they're working on it. We continue to have monthly construction meetings with them."

Crump said he thinks the college "has made the realization they won't be occupying it" for the spring semester, as originally planned, but that everything should be ready for summer classes.

The groundbreaking, or rather wall-breaking, ceremony was held Sept. 24 of last year prior to the demolition of two landmark buildings — the former clothing store owned by Mike Long and furniture store owned by longtime Sheriff R. W. Goodman.

The building is named for Kenneth and Claudia Robinette — who chair the Richmond County Board of Commissioners and the Richmond Community College Board of Trustees, respectively — and house the Leon Levine School of Business and Information Technology.

The school is named for the founder of Family Dollar and the namesake Levine Foundation, which granted $1 million for the project. Levine got his start in the retail business at The Hub, his family's shop in downtown Rockingham and created the bargain basement which eventually led to the formation of Family Dollar.

Construction of the campus is being handled by John M. Campbell Company out of Monroe.

The contractor vowed to work through the federal government shutdown earlier this year even though, at the time, Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump was unable to process payments because the loan is backed the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

City and county leaders expect the campus to draw new businesses to the downtown area.

Steel beams started going up in May.

Last modified on Monday, 14 October 2019 08:13