The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday June 20th

Inter-Faith Council presents proposal for FoodFirst building

The building would consolidate the IFC’s food pantry and community kitchen along with the offices at their Carrboro headquarters on 110 W. Main St. to more effectively feed a hungry community.

The IFC presented the design concept for the proposed building at a meeting Thursday night.

The review took place at McDougle Middle and Elementary Schools, with a joint advisory board for the town of Carrboro listening to the project’s early blueprint.

Jim Spencer, the architect for the building, helped present the design scheme, which includes space for potted plants, rear ground level access for food deliveries and a covered interior courtyard.

“There was a desire amongst some of the business owners and some of the town staff and amongst IFC to have a place where their clients could come and wait before and after meals that was out of the weather but was off the public right-of-way,” he said.

The building was designed to maximize efficiency with a commercial kitchen, a pantry and lots of room for food storage, but also to present a civic front and to showcase the scope of the IFC’s work.

“It has a gathering space, it has a kind of a vertical circulation tower, so you can see the people moving about because it’s an amazing number of people that come and go from that building,” Spencer said. “I’m not sure everyone in town realizes the number of people that IFC feeds on a daily basis.”

Spencer says the current community kitchen, which feeds 75 to 125 people per meal, has a waiting room, but one that’s possibly too small to meet current demands .

Tina Moon, planning administrator for the town of Carrboro, said the review was normal procedure for new developments. It allowed the advisory boards to ask questions and make comments.

After presentations, each advisory board meets individually to discuss their thoughts and organize suggestions.

Questions ranged from solar and water reusability to bike parking.

John Dorward, the acting director for the IFC, said the review went smoothly with many great questions and comments coming from board members and locals.

The cost of the new building is an estimated $5.1 million, but Dorward said collection of money is just beginning.

“We’re in the early stages of doing that, so we’re trying not to get the cart before the horse — we still need to get our approvals first,” he said.

Once the various boards release their formal suggestions, the IFC will draft a formal application of their own, which will be reviewed once again by the advisory boards before being presented to the Board of Aldermen.

While the proposed location of the building has received some criticism for being so close to the downtown area, Spencer said Carrboro can make it work.

“I totally understand people’s concerns — people are sometimes uncomfortable with the working poor and the poor in general, but I think if anywhere could do it, it’s Carrboro.”


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