HOPE MILLS — Scott Garner, the architect for the town’s new public safety building, delivered good news to the town board on Monday night.
“There’s no change order this month, and I know we’re all glad about that,” said Garner.
Garner told the Board of Commissioners that the project is in Phase 3 and the building is 90% to 96% complete.
“The town hall and parks and recreation parking lot opened today,” said Garner. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
Garner also told the board that the contractor expects to be finished before Easter, though he expects it to be mid- to late April.
“We are on schedule and within budget,” Garner said.
Interim Town Manager Chancer McLaughlin told the board a new tentative date for a ribbon-cutting is May 12, with a fallback date of May 18.
McLaughlin said officials from surrounding towns and the news media will be invited, adding he wants it to be a big deal.
“This building is a crown jewel,” said McLaughlin.
Drew Holland, the town’s finance director, also presented budget amendment No. 23 for the project to the board.
“This is needed to close out the project when it is completed. The initial budget called for just a construction loan, which was about $14 million. This ($17 million) is a cap amount that the USDA will finance once the project is completed,” said Holland.
“The loan covers everything outside the original construction loan,” Holland explained.
He said there is still about $730,000 left in the project’s contingency fund, which will not have to be repaid when the U.S. Department of Agriculture finances the loan.
“They capped the loan at $17 million, so going forward, anything we don’t have to spend is money we don’t have to borrow in the final loan,” said Holland.
The board unanimously passed the budget amendment. Mayor Pro Tem Kenjuana McCray was absent from Monday’s meeting and did not vote.
In other business:
After a public hearing, the board unanimously approved annexing 8.11 acres owned by CBMM Properties and CJR Property Holdings. The land is at the intersection of Waldo’s Beach and Camden roads.
The board also opened the floor to hear a rezoning case. The 15.11-acre property at 7050 Rockfish Road is owned by Crosspointe Church. The town Planning Department recommended approval of the rezoning.
Before the board voted, Crosspointe Senior Pastor Tracy Pounders asked the board to approve the rezoning. Pounders said his goal is retail development that will help financially support the church’s outreach partners.
The church partners with Operation Inasmuch, Agape Pregnancy Center, and a village in the Dominican Republic where homes are built for families who previously lived in cardboard boxes.
A couple of people spoke against the rezoning and stressed their concerns about more noise and a lack of privacy that the rezoning could cause.
McLaughlin, the interim town manager, reminded them that buffers are in the planning stage that will accommodate their concerns.
The board then unanimously approved a rezoning from R7.5 single-family residential to C2(P) planned service and retail, a more restrictive zoning category.