LANSING — The Lansing Board of Aldermen held its monthly meeting on Jan. 14 at town hall to discuss upcoming projects such as the NC-194 bridge replacement, which is scheduled to begin on April 15 and last approximately 135 days.
All members of the board were present.
One of the biggest opening topics of discussion was the growing beaver population in the Lansing Creeper Trail Park.
According to officials, beavers are causing great damage to the trees, which has caused the park to lose between 20 and 30 of the trees located along the creek.
It was mentioned that the town has spent a lot of money on stabilizing the creek banks and cannot afford to redo the work due to damage caused by the beavers.
The board’s greatest argument was that although they like having the beavers around, it is too great of a risk to continue to let them continue to live in and multiply in the park because it can compromise fishing prospects. As a board they have discussed building the future of Lansing around the trout fishing stream because it is known for bringing people into Lansing.
According to the game warden, the town needs to take action to get rid of the beavers.
The only solutions at this time are to either trap them or to find someone in the area who is willing to live-trap and relocate them to a different area. They have made contact with individuals in the past who said they were willing to come in and live trap them, but they never followed through.
Although the board does not feel it is the ideal form of action, there was a unanimous motion to move forward in solving the beaver problem by bringing a wildlife removal service to the park.
After the public discussion about the beavers, Lambert and Chris Shumate of the Lansing Volunteer Fire Department requested approval for an antique tractor show.
Since the town is always looking for new ways to bring people in, Lambert and Shumate wanted to find out more information about possibly utilizing the ballfield across from Lansing school for the event. They suggested the option of planning a mini-parade of antique vehicles, not limited to only tractors, traveling from the ballfield to the park. The vehicles would then be set up for display near the picnic shelter and fire pits for people to come by and ask questions or take pictures.
At this point in their proposal, Lambert and Shumate shared that they have access to 12 or 15 antique tractors already but if advertised they are confident they could have access to even more.
The board was supportive of a classic car show being held in the park and felt it would be a great way to attract people to the area.
It also was noted that Lambert and Shumate would need to make arrangements with people to drive the vehicles and also contact the American Legion since they are the owners of the ballfield.
The board’s consensus was to set the date for the event for Sept. 12 and to plan on utilizing the entire park and possibly the barn for concessions.
Ann Rose gave a presentation about a proposal for a fitness court to be placed in the park to help promote a healthy community movement. Rose displayed a video to show how cities across the U.S. have been using fitness courts and her purpose for the presentation was to gauge both the board and the community’s interest.
The response from the board was positive, however Alderman Matt A did pose some questions he had about the incorporation of a fitness park into the Lansing area.
Cordell’s questions were who would be responsible for the park’s maintenance, how would they deal with the safety aspect of it if people were to get injured and what complications the floodplain may cause.
The consensus of the board was for Rose to seek more information next week from members of the National Fitness Campaign, who will do the grant writing, to provide her with further information regarding the questions posed by Cordell.
Next, Clerk Little discussed an email from Jason Lingle of Blue Ridge Energies concerning a Placemaking Grant.
Blue Ridge Energies discussed placemaking at the board’s September meeting last year and are now willing to do a grant for $3,000 to allow a crew to come in and evaluate what the town has, what is available, and address strengths and weaknesses. Notes made by the crew would provide feedback for the town to create a plan for economic development.
The High Country Council of Government already focuses on and offers similar services to the town and although they are not as broad as the placemaking crew’s evaluation would be, the members of the Board were unsure of how much of a benefit it would be to them at this time.
“I like the idea overall, I just don’t know that we’re the right people to be taking it on,” Cordell said.
The board agreed to thank Lingle, but decided not to take any further action with this plan but are open to revisiting the option in the future.
Maintenance Supervisor Larry Blevins provided an update on the NC-194 bridge replacement project and shared information from his meeting with Randy Carpenter of Appalachian Utilities.
The company wants Carpenter to proceed in the placement of two valves on the sides of the bridge and shut the water off in order to work on the water lines in the creek between the two valves.
Carpenter presented two options to Blevins. The first was for maintenance to dig and find the pipe, then cover it up overnight and come back in the morning after Carpenter turns the water off. In this case, all residents except those on the upper end of town would have water.
The water is predicted to be shut off for only one day at most, in the event that members of the community would be without water.
The other option would be, if passed by the NC Department of Transportation, that they could put in the valves without turning any water off. However, this option would be costly and bring the cost between $8,000 and $10,000 more than the amount they had agreed on.
Carpenter and Blevins plan on testing this procedure sometime next week to see who would be affected by the valves being shut off.
Once the construction on the bridge on NC-194 begins, the distance between Depot Street and the fire department will be closed off to serve as an area for the equipment to be stationed.
This will result in a large loss of parking spaces in the town. Traffic is also expected to be an issue since there will only be one lane open.
The board would like to find either somebody to help direct traffic at the intersection where the stop signs are on the main street or try to push for coordinating traffic signals from NCDOT to help with traffic flow maintenance.
Further comments on the town encountering the issue of possibly being without water for a period of time during construction, Alderman Cordell suggested that it would be beneficial for businesses to be able to post in advance to let customers know that the water will be shut off.
The board plans to get the word out as quickly and effectively as possible in the event that the water would need to be shut off for construction purposes. Therefore, if businesses need to close for the day, customers would know the cause of the closures.
For risk management purposes, there was a proposal for a streamflow monitoring system.
The system would broadcast information about current water flow and help monitor when water levels begin to rise, which will be useful in determining the location of floodplains.
The vote was unanimous for the permanent fixture to be placed on the walking bridge and later moved to the Teaberry Bridge following its completion.
It is forecasted to be up and running within the next two months.
Little then gave the tax report for 2019, which showed that the percentage is up to nearly 80 percent for collections.
This percentage showed that the numbers have improved in comparison to years past.
Town Mayor Mack Powers led the discussion of providing a sheriff’s quarters for deputies on duty to use while they are patrolling at night for them to park their car and rest, use the restroom or make a cup of coffee.
The fire department has been receptive to working with the sheriff’s department and is planning to put a keypad on their door to allow them access to the facilities.
Powers feels it would be a win-win situation for the sheriff’s department and fire department to work together and for the town’s endorsement of this idea. He asked for the board’s approval to speak with the sheriff to see if they would be interested in working with the fire department.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” alderwoman Cheyenne Blevins said.
All members of the board voted in favor of moving forward with the mayor’s proposal.
Other topics of discussion addressed by Powers were the Due South Classic Fishing Tournament and how the bridge replacement project will impact traffic on A Street.
The Third Annual Due South Classic Fly Fishing Tournament will be held on March 4. The event will be hosted by Greater Lansing Area Development.
An estimated 30 spots will be open for competition this year, and fishing will tea place in Big Horse Creek and Helton Creek.
The event will bring recognition to the town and its trout fishing opportunities. Money or donated items will get different groups and organizations recognition on a video that is aired on TV after the event.
Since GLAD will be a sponsor, there would be no charge for the name of the organization to be listed in the video.
GLAD agreed to discuss working out a way to have not only their organization recognized for their service as sponsors, but also the Town of Lansing for providing the park and barn, in their next meeting on Jan. 23.
The meeting concluded with a further discussion about how the construction of the bridge will affect traffic on A Street.
The town plans to find out by their next meeting how much it will cost to borrow a concrete barrier to barricade the portion of the road and decide where it will be placed.
The next meeting for the Lansing Aldermen will be held at Town Hall on Feb. 11.