At its September 2 meeting, the Holly Springs Town Council approved financing terms for a limited obligation bond issue of up to $19 million to finance capital improvements projects:
- two transportation projects that will relieve congestion on Avent Ferry Road
- construction of a new law enforcement center and
- the second phase of the North Main Athletic Complex.
The transportation projects include improvements that will help traffic flow at the Avent Ferry Road and N.C. 55 Bypass intersection, and construction of the Main Street Extension project, which will provide a connection to Piney Grove Wilbon Road behind Walmart.
Town Manager Charles Simmons noted that the financing the council approved at the meeting for the North Main Athletic Complex was not part of the $20 million in parks and recreation bonds that Holly Springs voters authorized in November 2011. Of that money, $13 million was spent to:
- purchase 150 acres of new parkland, including the Sugg Farm property and the North Main Athletic Complex property, which would have been used by the county to dig out dirt to use to cover garbage at the landfill
- build synthetic turf soccer fields and tennis courts
- construct a greenway connector from Womble Park to Bass Lake Park, and
- to help fund the bridge to connect the loop trail around Bass Lake.
There is $7 million left in authorized but unused parks and recreation bonds.
Aside from purchasing the land, about $1 million of the voter-approved bonds will be used to light the North Main Athletic Complex. The rest of the constructions costs primarily are coming from the installment financing of a limited obligation bond issue.
While maximum terms allow for borrowing up to $19 million for 18 years at an interest rate no more than 4.25%, Town staff believes the amount borrowed and the interest rate will be lower. The rate will be determined Sept. 18, the day of the bond sale to investors.
Other meeting news
The council approved the preliminary plan for the Lochridge subdivision, to be located off Avent Ferry Road, about halfway between the proposed Union Ridge subdivision and Avent Ferry’s intersection with New Hill-Hollman Road/Rex Road.
A portion of costs for road improvements will be applied miles up the road at the intersection of Avent Ferry and Cass Holt roads. Terms for a developer agreement to build a roughly 200-foot turn lane for vehicles on Avent Ferry turning right onto Cass Holt are expected to be discussed at a future meeting.
Councilwoman Cheri Lee expressed concerns about the N.C. Department of Transportation’s plans for the road.
"We're going to be taxing this road even more and the schools even more," Lee said.
Town Senior Engineer Kendra Parrish discussed future plans for Avent Ferry Road, which she said one day will be four-lanes and divided by a median. She also said distant plans that call for a road that will connect Avent Ferry Road with Green Oaks Parkway.
Parrish discussed more immediate projects to alleviate traffic on Avent Ferry, including improvements at the road’s intersection with the N.C. 55 Bypass, as well as the Main Street Extension project, which is to take one third of the traffic off Avent Ferry Road.
She also discussed how the Town applies for grant funds to design road improvements, then for funding for easements, and then for construction. The Town soon is applying for grant funding to widen Avent Ferry Road to four lanes with a median from the bypass to Piney Grove Wilbon Road, she said.
“We’ve started at the hub of the problem, and we’re working our way out,” she said.
Parrish noted that the Town continues to require developers to conduct transportation studies and mitigate their development’s impact on roadways.
The council also endorsed a request to the N.C. Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit along Avent Ferry Road from 55 to 45 mph near the subdivision. The speed reduction was requested by the Lochridge developer as the subdivision will have lots on both sides of Avent Ferry. With a pool and recreation site on one side, the developer anticipates pedestrians crossing the road.
As part of the meeting’s consent agenda, the council also approved preliminary site plans for two pump stations, approved $6,500 for acquiring easements to build a sidewalk connection along Grigsby near Womble Park, and adopted a $34,234 budget amendment to match a 2015 Governor’s Highway Safety Program grant for the police department. The council also approved entering an $855,250 contract to provide lighting with a 25-year warranty for the North Main Athletic Complex stadium.
The council called for a request to the Board of Adjustment to reconsider a motion it made about a development plan downtown.