The Holly Springs Town Council and staff came home from the council’s annual winter retreat meeting last month with a working plan to continue to provide for the Town. The two-day meeting included discussions on short- and long-term capital improvement project priorities, establishing co-working space, modifying development regulations and the infrastructure reimbursement policy for the downtown area, and more.
The council and staff approved priorities for planned capital improvement projects and discussed related plans through 2020.
One of the top priorities is upgrading the wastewater treatment plant for increased discharge. The Town is expecting to hear the state’s decision on allowing the Town to increase its wastewater discharge into Utley Creek. The state had expected Holly Springs to connect to a regional facility, which would have cost the Town $29 million and caused utility rates to increase 7-10 percent, staff said.
Other sewer projects include installing the Middle Creek sewer line this summer, building Avent Ferry and East Side regional pump stations, constructing a dry bed for pump station cleaning debris, and examining the sewage line running beneath Bass Lake.
Water projects include building a line near the Town’s Friendship economic development site and upgrading a booster station.
Near-future transportation projects include extending Main Street, improving the Avent Ferry and N.C. 55 intersection, widening Avent Ferry to Piney-Grove Wilbon to four lanes, improvements downtown and at the Town cemetery, and improvements associated with the North Main Athletic Complex. The council also discussed future transportation projects
The council reflected on accomplishments of the past year and goals for the upcoming year. Accomplishments included beginning construction on the North Main Athletic Complex and the Law Enforcement Center, building sidewalks and a fiber optic network, and improving the Town government's relationship with the Chamber of Commerce.
Goals included working toward expanding wastewater discharge capacity, increasing use of the Town’s website and television station to better inform citizens about the development process, identifying funding to develop additional parks and recreation facilities and widen Holly Springs Rd., finding new ways to encourage business development downtown and in the industrial park, continuing to develop collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, and more.
The council supported staff’s plans to establish co-working space in the Holly Springs Police Station building downtown that will be vacated once the new Law Enforcement Center opens. Geared toward home-based businesses and sole proprietorships, co-working space allows people working for different businesses to share a work environment. Benefits to businesses that would come to the co-working space include hands-on support with improved access to resources, collaboration and increased motivation.
Benefits for the Town include creating a supply of businesses and future tenants for conventional office space, bringing people downtown to support existing businesses and attracting more businesses to Holly Springs. Staff noted that sole proprietors and micro businesses add jobs when larger companies shed them. The Town would partner with Mojo to establish the co-working space.
The council directed staff to reevaluate the Town's development regulations and infrastructure reimbursement policy for the downtown area included in the Village District Area Plan. Current challenges for businesses opening in the downtown area include the cost of burying overhead utility lines, meeting architectural requirements, and making sidewalk and streetscape improvements.
Other meeting news
Staff outlined the economic impact the North Main Athletic Complex could have on Holly Springs and discussed activities at and plans for the Town’s parks facilities.
The council gave consensus for the Town communications staff to move forward with an initiative to develop a repository of information on the Town website about growth in Holly Springs. The project would serve as a resource for locals interested in learning more about the development process and related issues. The council also gave direction on moving forward with a Town branding project.
The council approved the consent agenda from the Feb. 17 meeting that was canceled due to icy road conditions. Items on the agenda included setting a public hearing to receive comments prior to the preparation of next year’s proposed budget. The hearing is scheduled for March 17 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Residents are invited to provide input about what they feel are important programs, facilities and services before the budget process begins instead of waiting until the end of the process when making adjustments might not be feasible.
Other items on the consent agenda included:
- renewing a mowing agreement for state roads
- funding ladder truck repairs
- declaring three structures on the Sugg Farm property and a vehicle as surplus property
- approving a new position for the Police Department Investigative Division
- retaining a company for updating the Local Water Supply Plan.
Also, the council directed staff to contact property owners to begin the process of rezoning land zoned years ago for a development that never was constructed near Twelve Oaks. The land no longer is zoned in alignment with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.