City Manager’s Report
City Manager Jon Mendenhall
Three jobs have been posted on the www.nestlepurina.com jobs website for the Eden facility: Plant Manufacturing Excellence Manager, Maintenance Manager and Storeroom Coordinator. Visit this site to apply.
Linon Powell Company
This company is currently seeking a second shift assistant warehouse manager, a quality control person and inventory clerks. Forklift order pickers for first and second shift are also needed. Interested parties can complete a paper application at 136 Gant Road outside of Eden.
This Eden company currently has openings for two manufacturing engineers and one purchasing agent. In addition, they have 25 open full-time hourly positions including assembly, material handling and machine operators. Visit www.weil-mclain.com/careers for more information.
Domino’s Pizza-Drivers Wanted
Drivers are wanted at Domino’s Pizza in Eden. Cash is paid nightly, no tax tip credit and flexible schedules are available. Contact Dan at 640 S. Van Buren Road in the Meadow Greens Shopping Center adjacent to the Kings Highway entrance.
Eden Venture Business Park (formerly Eden Mall)
Owner Ron Hutchens is offering build-to-suit spaces for businesses, except retailers. Thus far, Platinum Kutz has been established in the facility and opened February 1. Another company is also considering the space. If you want a location for your business, visit www.edenventurebusinesspark.com for more information and to apply.
Main Street Update
627 Monroe Street
Carpino Investments now owns the former Duke Power building, as it is best remembered, located at 627 Monroe Street. Plans are to build condominiums on the property. This property was vacant and deteriorating badly for more than a decade, so it is great to see it being renovated.
636 Washington Street
Another local developer is transforming the former Belk building into a renovated space. Angelo and Pam Tiano have painted the exterior and closed the rear of the structure.
Chamber of Commerce Director’s Award of Excellence
Last month, it was reported that sisters Janis Wade and Donna Hopkins, who also happen to own side-by-side businesses on Monroe Street, jointly won the Director’s Award of Excellence for 2020. This is the first time this award has been given to two people but it was almost impossible to select one over the other. Donna has created a very popular downtown restaurant after running the successful Red River Grill for many years. That Little Pork Shop is a hip BBQ (and other delicious items) spot that Eden residents enjoy. Janis runs Sophisticated Rubbish, a really cool shop that has an ever-changing inventory of great items for your shopping pleasure. She is also a vital part of the energy and progress in Uptown Eden. Congratulations to these two sisters who have made a difference indeed.
City of Eden Coordinator of Special Events and Tourism Cindy Adams has released the 2021 schedule of events for Eden, assuming the COVID-19 social restrictions are lifted and the public is willing to participate in group events. They are as follows:
|Spring Grown and Gathered||May 20|
|Piedmont Pottery Festival||June 5|
|Oink & Ale||June 19|
|Shaggin' on Fieldcrest||July 24|
|Summer Grown and Gathered||August 12|
|RiverFest||September 17 & 18|
|Heritage & Heroes||October 16|
Eden Rotary Club
On February 2, N.C. Senate Pro-Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) was the guest speaker at the Eden Rotary Club. He presented information about the education investment and reforms made by the N.C. General Assembly since 2010. It included the following:
- Increasing the annual budget by $3 billion in K-12.
- Teacher pay was reformed by collapsing the 32-step pay scale toward an evidence-based pay schedule. Because of this reform, over a 30-year career, a teacher has the potential to make $256,800 more in lifetime earnings in the new Republican base pay schedule than he/she would have on the former schedule. This amount does not include benefits or state and local supplements and bonuses.
- Provided teachers a pay raise each of the last seven consecutive years, with an average raise of 21.4% since 2013-14 and raised starting pay by $5,000.
- The average pay raise in the 2019-21 budget was 3.9% sending average teacher pay to $54,606.
- Teacher bonus programs centered on reading, math, advanced courses and industry certifications have been implemented. Teachers can earn from $2,000 to $7,000.
Affordable College Education
The cost to attend a public university has been on the rise nationally, including N.C. In 2016, the General Assembly passed the N.C. Promise Tuition Plan giving N.C. students access to more affordable public higher education options. There are four main pillars of the new law:
- Guarantee of no in-state tuition increases for a standard undergraduate college term in all 16 N.C. public universities.
- Freezes student fees-often used to fund non-academic expenses at all N.C. public universities at current levels and limits future increases to no more than 3% per academic year.
- Lowers tuition at three universities to $1,000 per academic year ($500 a semester) for in-state students and $5,000 per academic year for out-of-state students beginning in the fall of 2018. Those universities include Elizabeth City State, UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina University. This has led to 41.9%, 32.1% and 11% increases in enrollment of these universities respectively.
- Directs $1.8 million annually to award up to 20 scholarships under the new Cheatham-White Merit Scholarship Program for students at N.C. Central and N.C. A&T Universities.
Senator Berger also noted that the newly-elected Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt, the General Assembly and now the Governor have all encouraged in-classroom education for the remaining academic year as evidence shows a very low likelihood of COVID-19 transmission between students and teachers.
FY 2020-21 Street Resurfacing Contract, No. 2
The main scope of work for this contract shall consist of the resurfacing of sections of Kennedy Avenue and Patterson Street. The bid opening was held on February 9. The City received the following bids: Waugh Asphalt, Inc., $205,988.83; Adams Construction Company, $218,109.00; APAC-Atlantic, Inc., $229,947.00; J.C. Joyce Trucking & Paving Company, $257,936.50; and Triangle Grading & Paving, Inc., $285,036.00. The apparent low bidder was Waugh Asphalt, Inc. out of Franklinville, N.C. The availability date for this contract is April 5.
NCDOT Road Resurfacing – Kings Highway
The N.C. Department of Transportation has Kings Highway from Fagg Drive to Boone Road rescheduled to be resurfaced in the spring. APAC-Atlantic, Inc. will be the primary contractor. This work is scheduled to be completed during daytime hours, so traffic delays should be expected.
NCDOT Road Resurfacing – Washington Street
The N.C. Department of Transportation will soon be accepting bids for the resurfacing of Washington Street from Bridge Street to Hamilton Street. According to NCDOT District Engineer Jason Julian, this work is scheduled to be completed at night with a completion date of June 30.
City Appoints Fire Administration
The City of Eden is pleased to announce the appointments of two career firefighters as interim administrators in the Eden Fire Department. Todd Harden has been named interim fire chief while James Slaughter was named interim deputy fire chief, effective February 10.
Harden, on his 19th year working for the City, had served as deputy fire chief and fire marshal since 2010. He has been acting fire chief since former Fire Chief Tommy Underwood’s retirement January 1. In addition to being certified as a firefighter, Harden holds many certifications which include hazmat, technical rescue, and fire officer. He is a certified fire investigator, fire inspector, and fire instructor. Harden is also a North Carolina Emergency Medical Technician and holds his North Carolina Basic Law Enforcement Certificate.
Slaughter has been an Eden firefighter since 1997, joining the department full time in 2006. He was promoted to captain in 2012 and served in that capacity until becoming acting deputy fire chief on January 1. Slaughter also holds many certifications, including fire officer, fire instructor, fire inspector, fire and life educator, hazmat, and technical rescue. He is a North Carolina Emergency Medical Technician as well.
Mayor Neville Hall congratulated the men on their promotions. “We appreciate Todd and James taking on these leadership roles,” he said. “On behalf of the citizens, we thank them and all of our Eden firefighters for continuing to provide for our safety.”
PARKS AND RECREATION
City Appoints New Head of Parks and Recreation
The City of Eden is pleased to announce the appointment of Terry Vernon as Interim Parks & Recreation Director, effective February 10.
Vernon is an Eden native and graduate of East Carolina University. He has made recreation a career for nearly 40 years, starting with the Boys & Girls Club in 1981 and eventually serving as their executive director. Vernon joined the City in 2007 and served as athletic director until this recent promotion. He is also the district 8 director for Dixie Youth Baseball for Rockingham, Caswell and Person counties, serves on the Dixie Youth Baseball State Board, and is Morehead High School’s announcer for football, basketball, and baseball teams.
“Terry brings many years of experience to the Parks and Recreation Department,” Mayor Neville Hall said. “His knowledge of the operations of the department will be an asset to the City of Eden. We appreciate him accepting this role and are confident he will do an outstanding job.”
COVID-19 Updates-Phase 3
All Parks and Recreation facilities are open in a limited capacity due to Governor Roy Cooper’s Phase 3 regarding COVID-19. Please note, at all open indoor facilities, staff will have participants sign in, answer questions regarding symptoms of COVID-19 and pass a temperature check before they are allowed into the facility. Staff will also sanitize the facility before, during and at the end of each evening.
Staff will continue to register for baseball with the possibility of practice starting in March if not affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
Bridge Street & Mill Avenue Recreation Centers
These two facilities will be open Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. There will be a maximum of ten participants allowed at any given time.
All playgrounds are open.
Eden City Hall
City Hall is now open to individuals needing to conduct business within the Finance Department. In order to comply with social distancing guidelines, we ask that you wear a mask and remain six feet apart from others as there will be markings in the lobby appropriately spaced.
Staff from other departments within City Hall can meet with individuals in the lobby or in the front Conference Room if needed.
There will continue to be no facility rentals due to the limited number of individuals allowed in a facility only being ten.
The park will continue to operate by maintaining social distancing during the use of the park by citizens. This includes the walking track, basketball courts, skateboard park, nature trail and dog park. There will continue to be no shelter rentals at this time.
The 2021 Freedom Park schedule of events has been completed. If restrictions surrounding COVID-19 are lifted, there will be weekend tournaments scheduled at Freedom Park ballfields beginning February 6 and running through December 6. Included in the schedule of events is a N.C. Dixie Youth Baseball State Tournament from July 16-22. The first weekend tournament at Freedom Park took place on February 6 as the NSA (National Softball Association) held a Men’s Tournament in which ten team participated in the tournament.
Garden of Eden Center
This facility is operating with a limited capacity of ten participants indoors and 25 outdoors at any given time and will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
PLANNING & INSPECTIONS
Boards and Commissions
There will be no Boards and Commissions meetings during the month of February that are not required by law.
Community Development Program/Code Enforcement
Staff has been working on a project to alter the approach and perception of the City’s community development/local code enforcement program.
At the January City Council Budget Retreat, staff presented a request for a comprehensive plan. The overhaul of the planning statutes mandates that such a plan be reasonably maintained (the City’s Land Use Plan is nearly 14 years old). Additionally, plans must be updated and or adopted by July 1, 2022.
COVID-19 CDBG Assistance to Low and Moderate Income Citizens Grant
Staff received notice of the grant agreement and package being sent from the Housing Finance Agency. There has been no release of funds thus far.
The environmental review was completed and its record was posted on the City’s website, advertised in the Rockingham Now newspaper and is available for review at City Hall. The comment period for the environmental review record has ended and the report has been sent to the N.C. Department of Commerce with a ‘Request for Release of Funds’ for the grant.
Staff is making progress with the solid waste maps requested by Public Works so that each truck can have a navigational device to direct them on the most efficient routes. The online services have been updated for City Staff to use with their mobile devices. The Engineering Department is providing data on the sewer remediation work as it progresses so that it can be made available to City staff as soon as possible.
Historic Landmark Request
The City received a request for a local landmark designation for the John B. Ray/Central Hotel building.
Nantucket Mill Project
At the present time, the City is awaiting an answer from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. City staff is continuing to pursue grant funds for the project.
Ongoing Projects for Inspections:
The new Dollar General located on NC Hwy 135 has been issued a 60 day temporary change order and should be open by mid-February.
After having a construction meeting with the Gray Architectural team, we should have full permits issued for plumbing, mechanical and electrical trades within two weeks for the Nestle Purina project. Currently the warehouse slab has been demolished at the site and new column footings are being placed. Once completed, steel will be erected and the roof raised to approximately 145’.
The fourth floor of Ray Commons (formerly the Central Hotel) has been issued a change order. Apartments are now occupied.