Council accepts $142,500 grant for Legion building
The grant is for $142,500 and must be matched by the town, most likely through a mix of public funds and private and corporate donations.
Although plans for the improvement designs are incomplete at this time, the town plans to remodel the two main meeting rooms on the upper floor, improve the bathrooms, and possibly build an outdoor deck on the backside of the building overlooking Broyhill Lake.
Currently, the American Legion building is used by the Blowing Rock chapter of the American Legion, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Blowing Rock Historical Society, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation, and other civic groups.
It is also rented out to other groups and individuals for events such as reunions.
The matching grant stipulates that improvements to the building must include a fitness room, picnic room and community room.
The grant also includes $18,300 for architectural design. An architect has not yet been hired for the project.
“We are not tied into any specifics with the grant as to colors, inside materials, windows, or any of that,” said Town Engineer Doug Chapman. “We are just now at the point of accepting the grant. Accepting the grant means we would not tear down the building for the next 25 years.”
“No civic center that I’ve ever seen makes a profit. We have to be careful on how big we make it. People want something nice, something they can be proud of and can be used for weddings and reunions. At the end of the day, it’s your building,” said Commissioner Jim Steele.
After consideration by the council, Commissioner Dan Phillips made a motion that the town accept the grant money, but that no money be spent until an architect is chosen and a design plan is in place. The motion was unanimously approved.
In other town council news, the commissioners unanimously approved:
• A consideration to rezone the Blue Ridge Vistas at 5800 Blowing Rock Boulevard, just south of Gideon Ridge. The 3.03-acre property has recently been approved for voluntary satellite annexation to tap into the town’s water system. Blue Ridge Vistas requested rezoning from its current R-20 (residential) zoning under Caldwell County to GB (general business) under Blowing Rock. Town Planner Kevin Rothrock said that the Blowing Rock Planning Board was more comfortable with rezoning the property R-6 (multi-family residential) because of its neighborhood.
• A consideration to draft an ordinance regulating the use of solar panels on commercial buildings and single-family structures in the TB and CB zoning districts in downtown Blowing Rock. The proposed ordinance will restrict the size of solar panels to 20 percent of the roof area if they are parallel to the roof plane and 10 percent if they are not. The regulations would only apply to solar panels that can be seen by adjacent properties.
• A consideration of Resolution No. 2012-19, which offers appreciation and welcome to Samaritan’s Purse in Blowing Rock (see related story).
• Consideration of bids for the replacement of a salt bin at the Public Works Facility.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council will take place at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Blowing Rock Town Hall. All of the monthly public meetings of the town council between November and April will be held at 5 p.m.