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First Murphy’s Farm buildings could be ready by spring
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Morganton City Council

First Murphy’s Farm buildings could be ready by spring

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If construction remains on track, the first buildings of a new apartment complex on the old Broughton Hospital property could be ready by spring.

Construction has been rapidly progressing on the Murphy’s Farm apartment complex on the old Broughton property, City Manager Sally Sandy said at Monday night’s Morganton City Council meeting.

When finished, the complex will consist of 240 apartments across eight buildings. The leasing office, fitness and yoga rooms, a club room, some conference rooms and micro offices for tenants will be housed in one of the old barns on the campus, which is being renovated.

Construction is moving along so quickly that the first apartment buildings could be turned over to the management company as early as spring, Sandy said, which means it’s time for the city to get started on installing underground electrical conduits so the buildings will have access to electricity.

Council members voted to contract with Carl Grigg Electric & Supply Inc. of Shelby to get started on the work. The company will work until it reaches the contract’s $30,000 ceiling, then the city staff will take over the work.

In other housing news, a memorandum of understanding has been adopted between the city and The Industrial Commons to distribute grant money for the development of workforce housing on Church Street.

Sara Chester, co-executive director of the nonprofit, along with Erin Kizer, its special projects coordinator, spoke to the council about the project Monday night.

They said the development would likely be a mix of single- and multifamily residences, and they’re looking at multiple ways to make sure the homes stay affordable in the long term for workforce families while also building equity for homeowners.

Some of those models include deed restricted homes, a land trust and limited equity cooperative.

The city and The Industrial Commons secured almost $450,000 in grant funding from Dogwood Health Trust to develop infrastructure for the housing project.

Council members approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and the nonprofit. The city will dole out the funds on a reimbursement basis.

In other business, a newly approved ordinance now makes it a citable offense to dispose of human waste anywhere but a functioning toilet or other approved sanitary facilities.

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Phillip Lookadoo, director of development and design for the city, said city staffers, especially code enforcement officers, have received multiple complaints about accumulating human excrement and urine in the city.

In an effort to combat the issue, city staff added an ordinance that would allow code enforcement officers, public safety officers and any other officer determined by the city manager to issue citations of:

$50 for the first offense.

$100 for the second offense.

$300 for the third offense, and an additional $50 a day for each day the problem persists.

Also approved by the city council were pay range increases for public safety and electric employees.

The increases brought public safety employee wages up by about 10% and electric employee wages up by about 5%. The exception in the electric department were meter reader positions, which saw about a 10% wage increase.

Council members also approved:

A contract with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments to administer a building reuse grant for EJ Victor, which is expanding and restoring its current building on Wamsutta Mill Road.

Minutes from the Dec. 6 regular meeting.

$598.57 in tax releases.

The city council will meet again at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 in its chambers at Morganton 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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