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July 23, 2014

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Appalachian Regional Healthcare System will share more information about its Blowing Rock
project in a meeting next week.
Rendering courtesy of ARHS

Originally published: 2012-06-15 09:35:15
Last modified: 2012-06-15 10:18:53

Public hearing on annexation for hospital property set July 10

The new Blowing Rock health-care facility, to be built on property purchased by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System in 2011 outside of Blowing Rock, might turn out to be bigger than first planned. 

ARHS purchased an additional 24.793 acres of land, adjacent to the 43 acres purchased in 2011.  

This past Tuesday, the Blowing Rock Town Council unanimously approved consideration of a resolution to direct the Town Clerk Sharon Greene to determine the sufficiency of an ARHS annexation petition, filed on June 5. 

The annexation request, if approved, would allow the town to provide the newly acquired land with water and sewer service. 

According to Town Planner Kevin Rothrock, the land meets the five criteria the state requires for satellite annexation. 

A public hearing on the matter will take place at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the town council, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10, at Blowing Rock Town Hall.  

The town council also unanimously approved the fiscal year 2012 budget for the town. It includes a property tax rate set at 28 cents per $100 valuation, the seventh straight year that property taxes have been set at that level. 

The only change from last year’s budget is an increase of 50 cents per month in both water and sewer fees and a reduction in the water interconnection fee of $1 per month, resulting in a no-net change. “I’d like to commend our Town Manager Scott Hildebran and his staff for one hell of a job on this budget and for being able to keep it in line,” said Councilman Albert Yount.  

The town council received an update on the status of the Town Comprehensive Plan process from Planning Board Chairman Jim West and   Rothrock. 

According to the two, the planning department is in the process of putting together a citizen survey that will be mailed to every permanent and part-time resident of Blowing Rock. 

Up to two members of each household will have a chance to respond to questions about the town and provide input for their vision for it for the next 10 to 15 years. That survey will be sent out in a mailing on Aug. 1 and a subsequent online version to be launched Aug. 15.  Previous surveys in 1993 and 2004 provided input for the town’s planning department and resulted in projects such as the current Street-scape improvements.  

“We had a 44 percent response rate for the last survey,” Rothrock said. “That’s very good when you consider that most town surveys have about a 20 percent response rate.” 

According to West, residents who do not answer the questionnaire will still have the opportunity to give their input at public meetings.  

The survey will be tabulated and analyzed by professionals at North Carolina State University.

The town council also approved a bid by the construction firm Blowing Rock Property Services for the replacement of the roof on the American Legion Building on Wallingford Street. 

The bid was for $11,900 for repair to the roof and some deck work. 

The work will entail replacing old wooden shingles with asphalt ones.  The town council also discussed possible solutions to the parking problems that regularly occur on parade days. The town annually hosts a Fourth of July parade and a Christmas parade, held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

Both parades have traditionally been held at 2 p.m., and for three out of the last four years, the town has also hosted the Oasis Shriners’ summer parade, held the first weekend in June.  

According to Councilman Dan Phillips, several downtown merchants have complained about parade watchers setting up camp in the parking spaces on Main Street early in the morning and then staying there until the parade is over, preventing customers from using the spaces. 

Blowing Rock Police Chief Eric Brown said that it has been a tradition to allow people to exceed the three-hour parking limit for downtown parking spaces on parade days. 

The town council discussed the possibility of moving future parades (after next month’s Fourth of July parade) to an earlier time of day, possibly 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. 

The council and Brown agreed that for the upcoming Fourth of July parade the three-hour parking limit will be enforced.  

The town council also unanimously approved a consideration of a resolution to accept and endorse the 2012 Watauga County Solid Waste Management Plan per North Carolina General Statutes.  

The next public meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10, at Town Hall.      

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For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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