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Louisburg to level 'unsafe' structures

LOUISBURG -- The Louisburg Town Council gave a company permission to expand, passed an ordinance governing unsafe structures and learned that the long-awaited Nash Street sidewalk project may be nearing completion.

The council held a public hearing -- during which no one spoke -- about an amended Special Exception Permit for ACI, a company that is planning to operate a carbon pellet-making plant on Industrial Drive.

The plant, which will be in a former metal recycling plant is not yet in operation.

However, the company asked that the town change its rules so that they can further enclose the building to make it more soundproof and to better protect the equipment, according to Assistant Town Administrator Tony King who explained the project to the council.

The changes will not affect operation of the plant but will allow the height of the building to be raised from 32 to 52 feet.

The request, which earlier was recommended by the Louisburg Planning Board, was approved unanimously.

The council also approved an ordinance that directs the removal of unsafe structures at 112 Grant Street, 118 Grant Street and 208 Mineral Springs Street after the owners failed to comply with orders to abate the violations found at the properties.

King said that in some cases the owners may simply deed the property to the town which will remove the unsafe structures and attempt to find other uses for the lot, perhaps as parks or for resale as a residential building lot.

King said work to remove the structures should "begin in a week or so."

Town Administrator Jonathan Franklin said that the sidewalk project along East Nash Street in downtown should be completed in the next two to three weeks with the exception of railings that are being custom crafted.

The entire project is to be completed by the end of March, Franklin said, with a ribbon cutting tentatively planned for early April.

Once that work is done, the town will target the sidewalks in front of the Safe Space store building just to the east of the current project. That also will involve moving utilities underground. When that is done, Franklin said, the town will be finished with building brick sidewalks downtown.

In that same area, the town has been working to upgrade a sewer line and that project is now complete with the exception of repaving the streets, Franklin said, adding that the new line is already in use.

In other action Monday night, the council:

--PASSED a resolution supporting the development of the rail corridors referred to as the S-Line and the SA-Line for passenger, freight lines as well as improved commuting options and economic development.

Those rails lines will not directly serve Louisburg but will travel through Youngsville and Franklinton.

Franklin noted that the resolution, which passed unanimously, is to show support for other Franklin County communities and also to hopefully spur economic development.

--GOT SOME good news when Franklin revealed the town has received $2.3 million for projects it submitted last fall.

Two planning grants totalling $300,000 will allow the town to study its water and sewer system for future projects and growth.

The town also received a $500,000 grant to install a new water line and fire hydrants on Bullock Drive, a project that the town has been trying to fund for several years.

Finally, the town received a $750,000 loan and a grant of $1.55 million for a water line replacement project that will serve North Main Street around the John and Williamson streets area. Franklin said it may be a year before that project is ready to go out for bids.

--WERE TOLD by Franklin that the Joyner Park Phase II project is officially complete as far as the state is concerned. The new additions include a regulation-sized soccer field, corn hole boards, table tennis, walking trails, fitness cluster, canoe launch and a regulation-sized baseball field. The town is planning to build dugouts for the baseball field in July, Franklin said.

--LEARNED that the preliminary plans for the Franklin and Main street intersection project have been completed and will be submitted to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for approval. Franklin said the project is likely to be included in the 2020-21 fiscal year budget.

--HEARD a report on the Louisburg Fire Department from Fire Chief Randy Lanham.


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