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This map shows where the Zoo City Social District exists, with areas in yellow up for expansion.

City Council OKs expansion of downtown social district

Janet Imrick
Randolph Hub


With new events and development coming to downtown Asheboro, the Zoo City Social District is in the process of expanding.


At their Feb. 8 meeting, Asheboro City Council members voted to extend the social district boundaries.


Since violating the social district can result in a misdemeanor charge, City Attorney Jeff Sugg explained that an expansion requires two voting sessions to pass. Council member Eddie Burks was the sole dissenting vote at the Feb. 8 meeting. The second vote will be held at the council’s March meeting.


The social district allows people to buy alcoholic beverages from downtown businesses and carry them in specially marked cups throughout the district and inside participating shops on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m.-11 p.m.


Council members reviewed four different maps. They selected the largest expansion with the following changes:

• Include the east side of North Fayetteville Street from Worth Street to the north crosswalk across Academy Street.

• Extend east on Worth Street to the Register of Deeds Office and the Historic Courthouse.

• Extend west on Sunset Avenue to the Masonic Lodge parking lot and Hamilton's.


Sugg said new boundaries must include crosswalks to ensure safety. Staff will place new signs to alert people when they are leaving the social district.


The discussion about expanding the social district began in January with a request by Hoover Hatchet House to be included in the district. Burks said that to avoid having to consider repeated expansion requests, he wanted city staff to draw up different maps that considered the potential of other businesses wanting to join in the future.


More downtown business

The city council voted on other developments for the downtown area.


— Downtown Asheboro, Inc. Executive Director Addie Corder announced the Zoo City Street Festival on April 20, celebrating the North Carolina Zoo's 50th anniversary. Corder said there will be pop-up vendors, activities in Bicentennial Park and a "streatery" for restaurants to set out tables in the roadway. The zoo plans to bring some of its animal ambassadors.


The council voted to close North Street and Sunset Avenue from Church Street to North Fayetteville Street for the festival.


— Community Development Director Trevor Nuttall brought forth a request to dismantle a 20,000-gallon underground oil storage tank at the Historic North Street Mill. The city's Environmental Quality permit for the tank runs through the end of the year. Approximately 9,500 gallons of fuel and water are believed to still be inside.


Council members approved a $64,025 contract with DH Griffin Wrecking Company to remove the tank. They will open the concrete, empty the tank, remove it along with piping to the boiler room, then backfill the area. Nuttall said a state infrastructure grant will cover the cost.


— Downtown development is part of the agenda for a capital improvement workshop on Feb. 23. City Manager John Ogburn said it will be at noon in the Asheboro Recreation Center. The city council will discuss completion of the Zoo City Sportsplex, Fire Station #3, McCrary Park, the Jarrell Community Garden, renovations to Trade and North Streets, expansion of Crestview Church Road, preservation of the Historic North Street Mill, and expansions to public transportation.


A second workshop on March 22 will focus on potential strategic planning initiatives. It will also be at noon at the Asheboro Recreation Center.