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Infrastructure issues dominate Clarksville Council discussion

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Final phase begins on Clarksville streetscape / February 12, 2014

Clarksville Town Manager Jeff Jones announced at the January meeting of Town Council that work has begun on the final phase of the downtown Clarksville streetscape project.

J. Harmon Saunders Construction already has removed old sidewalks and graded the right of way just west of Dollar General between Seventh and Eighth Streets. As soon as the weather cooperates, crews will install new sidewalks and street lighting to match the existing downtown streetscape.

In other Council business, people doing business with the town can now pay their bills with debit or credit cards. Town Clerk Wendy Feild said customers who choose this payment option would have to pay a “convenience fee” equal to 2.45 percent of the base charge. As of Feb. 4, the town had processed 55 credit card payments.

Council adopted new zoning for the lands annexed into Clarksville as of Jan. 1.

Properties located on First Street, Second Street, Old Rock Road, Ballou Street, Mill Village Circle, Pointe Place, Cozy Cabin, Strippers Cove, and a portion of Tisdale Lane go from R-3 to R-1.

The old Burlington Industries site went from R-3 to I-1.

Properties located on Business 58, US 58 Bypass, those located within the block of Jackson Drive and Stuart Drive, and all current business properties located on Old Buffalo Road went from R-1 to B-1, and the properties located on US 58 Bypass and the intersection of Shiney Rock Road keep their B-1 designation.

Properties east of Highway 15 South and the properties around the intersection of Highway 58 Bypass and Highway 15 South keep their B-2 designation.

Council also approved the membership of the town’s Planning Commission for 2014. Re-elected as chairman is Linda Davenport. Connie Torres will continue as vice chairman, and Robert Obst will serve as secretary. In addition, the regular meetings of the Planning Commission will now take place on the first Monday of the month “at a time to be published at the Town Hall.”

Stuart Buchanan, on behalf of the Mecklenburg County Veterans Memorial Committee, asked Town Council to donate $22,000 for a wrought iron fence with brick piers around the veterans memorial plaza. According to Buchanan, it was the opinion of the Memorial committee that the fence will draw attention to the plaza, set it off as a place of importance, and protect the granite monument from damage.

Mayor Kevin Allgood agreed that Council would consider the request as part of their upcoming budget discussions.

After the most recent disturbance involving renters of the Clarksville Community Center, Jones is again revamping the standard lease agreement. Most likely, future renters will have to hire on-site security and either be town residents or have a town resident sign on as a host.

Repairs were completed on the broken water line and the sewer lines on Virginia Avenue, Town operations manager Richard Elliott said. The water line that ruptured Saturday afternoon, Feb. 1, was old and deteriorated. A town crew completed the repairs and restored the water by 2 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 2.

The sewer line repairs that closed the westbound lane of Virginia Avenue for nearly a week were necessitated by a break in an old pipe in front of 906 Virginia Avenue, said Elliott. The problem spread as the pipe began collapsing in both directions from the initial break. The town called in J. Harmon Saunders Construction to make the needed repairs. Elliott said they installed new sewer line from just east of 906 Virginia Avenue down to the first driveway leading into the Clarksville Fine Arts Center.

Elliott commended both his crew and J. Harmon Saunders Constructions for their speed and thoroughness in handling the problem. About his crew, Elliott said, “I have an outstanding crew who are able to handle things even when I am not here.”

The recent cold weather snap brought an influx of complaints about frozen water meters. Elliott dispatched crews to investigate. “In most cases, it was not a water meter issue,” he said. The majority of the problems occurred where the water line to the house was close to the surface. One way to prevent these freeze ups, said Elliott is to allow the water to continuously flow through the line by allowing the faucet to drip.

Town Hall is getting a new heating unit after the one used to heat the town’s conference room failed.

As part of his annexation update, Jones said town staff and members of the Planning Commission are working on a new comprehensive plan and a long-range capital improvements plan, as required by the Annexation Agreement that went into effect Jan. 1. Once those plans are completed, Jones said they‘d begin work on a comprehensive rezoning plan for the town.

2014 business licenses were mailed out this past week, Jones said. He encouraged council members to remind new businesses that all fees are now paid to Clarksville, not to Mecklenburg County. For newly annexed businesses, the license fee this first year is only $35.

Existing water and sewer users, who are now town residents, had their trash pickup costs added to their most recent water and sewer bills, but much business will continue to have county trash pickup, until the town acquires dumpsters for these sites.

The sidewalk in front of Wells Fargo Bank remains closed for now, Jones said. Until the weather breaks, workers cannot pour new concrete sidewalks or the concrete cap on the retaining wall.

Finally, Jones shared the results of a recent meeting with staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who were in town to discuss Clarksville’s “buzzard problem. They are becoming more destructive,” Jones said. Officials with the USDA claimed the town’s buzzard problem “goes hand-in-hand” with feeding of feral abandoned cats. For now, he is working with the USDA to develop a plan to address the problem.

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