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Council approves resolution for grant application
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Morganton City Council

Council approves resolution for grant application

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The Morganton City Council had a fairly light agenda Monday night.

The agenda was fairly light at Monday night’s Morganton City Council meeting.

One of the items on that short agenda was approving a resolution for a building reuse grant for Toner Machining, which is planning to expand and move to the former Food Lion building on West Fleming Drive.

The council approved the grant application for $260,000.

City Manager Sally Sandy said the city already had presented the project and was told that it could receive half the grant application, or $130,000.

The city and Burke County each would be responsible for providing $6,500 for grant administration, she said.

The expansion is expected to create 31 new jobs, Sandy said.

In other actions, the council called for a public hearing on its intent to close and abandon an unopened portion of road on Beach Street, near the Morganton Farmers Market.

That sentence raised some eyebrows Monday night, but City Attorney Louis Vinay offered some context for the strange agenda item.

Apparently, decades ago, there was some sort of oversight that allowed a previous property owner to construct a building on the city’s right of way on Beach Street.

“I don’t know, I don’t think anybody knows how it came to be that that was built entirely within a street right-of-way, but it is,” Vinay said.

The property owner, Airlie Inc., requested that the city officially close and abandon the already unused right-of-way so the company can try to sell part of the property.

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“They have offered to dedicate to the city, for all practical purposes, the little strip of land which is already being used as the street, to connect Beach Street to Beach Street,” Vinay said.

The council will hold a public hearing on the closure at its Feb. 1 meeting.

Council members also voted to rezone a little more than 20 acres of land off Wamsutta Mill Road to high intensity district from medium intensity district.

Phillip Lookadoo, director of development and design for the city, said the property is used as light manufacturing use, and Lookadoo said city staff felt that would best fit the high intensity district.

Council members also approved a budget amendment to receive $30,000 for recreation and Main Street projects from an anonymous donor.

With $3,500 of the money donated, the city will install outdoor lights at Mountain View Recreation Center. The remaining funds will go to seating, trash receptacles and items to support new landscaping at the Historic Courthouse Square.

The city also received a $16,300 grant from Dogwood Health Trust Foundation for the Human Relations Commission.

Of the total grant, $6,300 will be used to provide programs, forums and outreach programs through the commission to promote and understand diversity and inclusivity in the community, and promote the commission as a partner for addressing community issues.

The remaining $10,000 is to be used by the commission in partnership with the Historic Morganton Festival to offer more diverse acts during the season.

Other items approved by the council included:

  • Minutes from a regular meeting and a closed session, both held Dec. 7
  • A budget amendment for $6,000 for recreational purposes
  • 2021 COVID-19 emergency leave for city employees

The council will meet again Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at cmurphy@morganton.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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