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The Daily Tar Heel

Old Town Hall to stay on as kitchen

The organization provides food, shelter, clothing and other services to those in need in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.

The IFC is operating a community kitchen at 100 W. Rosemary St. — which in the past served as the Town Hall — and a food pantry at 110 W. Main St. in Carrboro. But the IFC wants to build a new site in Carrboro to house these services under one roof.

Before the construction can begin, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen needs to approve the presence of a community kitchen in the town, IFC Executive Director Michael Reinke said. There will be a public hearing on the topic on March 22.

Reinke said vacating the site on Rosemary Street and conducting operations at the same location would allow for a coordinated effort to aid the community.

“By providing services in one location, not only are there efficiencies in terms of how you actually provide the services,” Reinke said.

“But then you’re actually able to provide better service and you’re able to link people up to other services.”

The IFC wouldn’t be vacating 100 W. Rosemary St. until around 2019, at which time Reinke projects the process of approval, fundraising and construction to be completed.

Dwight Bassett, Chapel Hill economic development officer, said the Rosemary Street site, which is the property of the town and is being leased to IFC, isn’t a priority at this time.

The town has considered several uses for the site once vacated, but no decisions have been made due to the length of the potential relocation project.

“It’s kind of hard to put it on the market, even think about future uses,” Bassett said. “We have talked about using it as a visitor’s center, as a museum, and explored that option a little bit earlier this year with the county.”

Chapel Hill resident María Torres said she thinks a museum would be a good use for the site, especially in giving local schools a place to bring students on field trips.

“If they used it for a museum, it would be very good for the children — it could be an art museum, any kind of museum,” Torres said.

Torres also sees the idea of a museum in Chapel Hill as a way to make that type of service more accessible.

“There are museums very far from here. It would be good for children, since they would not have to go so far away. It would be safer,” Torres said.

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