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Monday January 24th

Chapel Hill Town Council develops American Legion task force

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The Town of Chapel Hill has been in the process of purchasing the 36-acre American Legion property on Legion Road since December. When it comes to deciding what to do with the property, the Chapel Hill Town Council is giving taxpayers an opportunity to share their thoughts. 

The council formed a task force for the property on March 13 and started taking applications from community members the next day. Applications were due March 30, and three seats are reserved for community members — and at least one for someone living near the property. 

The task force will also include Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, Chapel Hill Town Council members Nancy Oates and Donna Bell and other community voices and advisory board members.

Oates said they're looking to include voices from many local perspectives, including the Chapel Hill and Orange County Visitors Bureau, school boards and arts departments. 

“Because this is an asset the taxpayers in town are paying for, they’re all stakeholders," Oates said. "It’s not just something the town council is going to decide what we think needs to be done."

Oates said the council will vote on the task force membership Monday afternoon. 

“If we don’t have an advocate for a specific thing, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to consider it,” she said. “I’m looking for people who are open-minded and work well in a committee, so that we can come up with some ideas and recommendations.”

Beth Vazquez, assistant town clerk, received applications for task force membership and said in an email there were 33 total applications for the three at-large seats available. She also said the Planning Commission submitted names for other seats from Parks and Recreation, Greenways, someone from the business community, the Visitors Bureau and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools school board. 

Corey Liles, senior planner for the town of Chapel Hill, said that task force members would have to attend a public meeting on April 8, as well as participate in follow-up meetings to continue providing feedback and discussing ideas with the Town Council. 

“In addition, the task force can recommend next steps to the Council," Liles said in an email. 

Chapel Hill Town Council member Jessica Anderson said deciding what to do with the property requires a balance between what best serves the community and what will work on the land itself. 

“There are a lot of great ideas out there, and I think we just have to figure out which ones are the best match for this property and how to meet the needs of the town.”

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