Carrboro’s Board of Aldermen unanimously approved final designs for a new-look Town Commons which is scheduled to begin construction in November.
The board heard a presentation from the town’s Public Works Director James “JD” Freeman Tuesday night before voting unanimously.
Upgrades to the current Town Commons, which is located just south of the Carrboro Town Hall at 301 W. Main Street, will focus on providing flexible event space for the growing amount of concerts and events the town plans on hosting at the Town Commons.
One of these on-going events is the Carrboro Farmers Market, which uses the Commons on a year-round basis every Saturday morning.
“We’re thrilled to see it come through,” said former Carrboro Farmers Market manager Erin Jobe. “The developers have been very accommodating throughout this entire process. (These new upgrades) will help sustain the market into the future and this project is what is needed to make sure farmers can continue to come and thrive at the market.”
Additional upgrades to the space will include a re-established turf area, provide designated walkways for pedestrians, provides structural parking reinforcement below the ground and lighting and electrical access for shows and events.
One change the new design featured was an expanded parking lot on the Bim Street side of the Town Commons.
When looking over past designs for the parking lots, which were originally two small lots on each end of Bim Street, Freeman said, “It looks good from the sky, but these parking lots are a bad idea. It creates dead ends. There has been a change to traffic in the new design to allow a free flowing parking lot.”
The new parking lot design is one large parking lot, which runs parallel to Bim Street.
There was more talk about funding, as it was revealed by Town Manager David Andrews that the town would not be able to secure debt funding from a bank if the project were to go over-budget.
"It's because it's not a typical capital project," Andrews said. "However, we do have reserves we could go into if need be."
Upgrades to the Town Commons are estimated to last from December 2016 to March 2017.
The Board also awarded $20,000 for affordable housing acquisition to local nonprofit Community Home Trust.
Community Home Trust was seeking money to purchase a 3-bedroom duplex at 114 Lantern Way in Carrboro to keep it an affordable property.
If the property were to be sold on the free market, it would lose the distinction of an affordable property, said Nate Broman-Fulks, Assistant to the Town Manager.
The Board also accepted the NC Coastal Federation's Pelican Award for writing an opposition to off-shore drilling on North Carolina's coastline in 2015.
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