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Acme-McCrary building rezoned for multiple uses to complement downtown

ASHEBORO — At the Asheboro City Council’s Aug. 9 meeting, the group approved a request from city staff to rezone the former Acme-McCrary building at 159 North Street and the parking lot at 148 North Street from general industrial, general commercial and central commercial to office-apartment.


The reason to rezone the property, now owned by the City of Asheboro, is to offer mixed-use flexibility for a potential developer.


When the city purchased the property in 2022, a primary interest was ensuring that future development would complement the downtown’s ongoing revitalization and future industrial use did not support that objective.


Use of the former textile mill and parking lot, under the new zoning, would allow for residential uses such as apartments, institutional uses such as places of worship, and lighter commercial enterprises such as medical or professional offices and hair salons.


Commercial activities such as retail shops and restaurants would not be authorized by right.


The Acme-McCrary plant, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, was built in 1909 and added onto a number of times. It faces North Street and borders Salisbury Street. The west side faces the Norfolk Southern right-of-way which could be used for parking if the railroad were to authorize that.


In other business, council:


— Authorized a resolution to the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) “to study, design and implement improvements to West Salisbury Street and Lexington Road to ensure safe and orderly movement of motor vehicles and support economic development investments by the City of Asheboro.”


The resolution was presented by Mayor Pro Tem Walker Moffitt in response to concerns by residents about the safety and functionality of West Salisbury Street and its merger with Lexington Road west of Interstate 73/74. A traffic study of the intersection by Ramey Kemp & Associates in 2022 resulted in the recommendation for either the installation of new signalization or an elongated peanut-roundabout.


The economic development component is the current renovations to McCrary Park, which is expected to result in a substantial increase in attendance and more traffic on the roadway. The resolution noted that “it is also in the public’s interest to maximize the return of economic development investments by ensuring the public street network is designed and prepared to support such efforts … .”


Michael Miller, a resident of the area, asked that the neighbors be involved in any planning related to the roadway improvement. Moffitt responded by saying the NCDOT would require public hearings during the planning process.


Carey Durham, also of the neighborhood, asked if it helps if the city “antes up” money for a proposed highway project. Moffitt said the “DOT is welcome to receiving money.” He estimated that “24 months would be a short fuse” for such a project.


— Agreed to a partnership agreement between the City of Asheboro and the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA at the Zoo City Sportsplex.


Jonathan Sermon, director of Cultural and Recreation Services for the city, said the agreement allows the YMCA to have its soccer league and other activities on a particular field. The organization would also be reimbursed for management of certain programs and for promotions it engaged in. 


It was stressed that all rental fees and concessions would belong to the city.


Patrick O’Hara, executive director of the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA, said the agreement was the result of “months of coming up with the best solution. The Sportsplex is going to benefit everybody. It’s the best place (of its kind) in the Southeast.”


— Held a public hearing for proposed appropriations for economic development purposes not related to business location incentives or to real property.


The proposed appropriations were: $55,000 to the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation; $125,000 to the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce; and $75,000 to Downtown Asheboro Inc. (DAI). The council voted unanimously for the appropriations.


— Voted to join the Eastern Piedmont NC HOME Consortium, which will provide local governments in five counties to receive benefit from grant funds for development of affordable housing. 


The action does not commit the City of Asheboro to provide any funding except when it were to pursue grant funds through the consortium. There is a 25-percent match requirement on all funds drawn from the consortium trust fund treasury. 


HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments, designed to create affordable housing for low-income households, with HOME funds awarded annually as formula grants to participating jurisdictions.


The City of Burlington is the lead agency and the five counties are Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Randolph and Rockingham.


— Authorized a tipping fee rate of $38 per ton from the City of Randleman at the City of Asheboro’s solid waste transfer station. The authorization required an amendment to Section 51.37 of the Code of Asheboro. 


Greg Patton, interim city manager of Randleman, said the action will mean a savings for his government.


— Accepted a change order with Simcon Company for additional electrical work on the corporate hangar at the Asheboro Regional Airport. The change order is for $5,204. The council also voted to authorize WK Dickson to begin construction of T-hangars.


— Approved the annexation of 9.921 acres at the intersection of Crestview Church Road and Zoo Parkway. The council also agreed to public hearings at their Sept .7 meeting concerning annexations of 1.34 acres on Kelly Circle and 1.112 acres on WOW Road.


— Presented Pride in Asheboro Awards to Steve Hall and Abe Prandini, plant managers at the two Energizer facilities in the city. The awards recognize the company’s 75 years of manufacturing and community support to the city.


The company opened in Asheboro in 1948 as National Carbon and later was called Union Carbide and then Eveready. Energizer recently announced plans to expand its facilities and add more than 150 jobs.


— Heard a presentation by Leslie M. Smith, a South Asheboro Middle School science teacher, on her summer teacher internship with the Asheboro Water Resources Division.


Smith said her eighth grade class this coming year will study Water on the Planet, with a focus on river basins and reservoirs. “I saw every part of the process in water resources,” she said. “I’m excited to take it back to the students. It made me so proud to be a citizen of Randolph County.”


— Recognized Avery D. Heskitt of Boy Scout Troop 500 on earning his Eagle Scout badge, the highest rank in scouting.