ASHEBORO — When the City of Asheboro had to scrap its plans for a Zoo City Sportsplex grand opening, organizers instead chose to provide an update on current downtown projects.
Working in conjunction with the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours on Oct. 19, city staff, including Addie Corder of Downtown Asheboro Inc., reviewed the latest information concerning the former Acme-McCrary mill on North Street, toured the soon-to-open Half Moon Oyster Bar, and got a close-up view of plans to improve Trade Street.
Corder told Chamber members present that plans for the old mill include applying for historic tax credits prior to restoring the historic building.
“Asheboro was one of the last to hang on to its mills,” she said, referring to the movement overseas for much of the state’s textile industry.
Acme-McCrary had a large footprint inside the city, and a couple of those buildings are now the Asheboro Senior Adults Center and the Church Street Lofts. The former McCrary Gym is now owned and used by the city. The old mill on North Street is the final Acme-McCrary building that needs to be renovated for reuse.
Corder explained that old buildings normally need much upgrading, which can be expensive. That’s why it’s important to get the tax credits prior to turning the building into something that’s positive for downtown.
Currently, the city is working with Norfolk Southern to lease part of the railroad right-of-way, on the west side of the mill building, to be used for parking.
“There have been a lot of discussions but no conclusions” about what to do with the building, Corder said. But the consensus seems to be that there should be apartments, maybe a restaurant and office space. Much depends on who comes along to develop the property.
What is known, she said, is that the mill’s historic aspect should be maintained while making it fit in with downtown life. “We want to maintain as much of the historic character as we can,” Corder said.
Members then were led to the future Half Moon Oyster Bar, which is on the corner of North and Trade streets. Mayor David Smith owns the building and has been upfitting the building for Half Moon.
Smith said the building, which is separate from the two-story structure next door, was built in 1904 as a livery stable. During the 1930s, a concrete floor was poured and a storefront created facing Trade Street. Businesses that have called the building home include G.L. Harris, Ideal Electric, an alterations shop and others.
However, it’s been vacant for at least nine years with the Trade Street windows boarded up.
“It’s not my restaurant,” Smith was quick to say, adding that he will lease the space to Half Moon Oyster Bar. He estimated that the opening of the restaurant should be some time in November.
“It’s more than just oysters,” he said, noting that the full menu of Oyster Bar can be found on its website.
Corder then took the group onto Trade Street, a one-way, unattractive back alley between Fayetteville and North streets, parallel with Sunset Avenue.
“We’re out of building space downtown,” she said. “Trade Street has long been identified as needing upgrades, making it better looking and continuing to serve the city. We want to make sure the infrastructure is up to date and that (electric) power is adequate.”
The Wooten Company is currently evaluating possible improvements, along with costs, to further the mission of Trade Street. Those improvements could mean burying power lines and improving accessibility for pedestrians.
Corder said the city and Downtown Asheboro Inc. will be seeking public feedback on Monday, Nov. 13, from 3-6 p.m. at the Recreation Center on North Street.
“We’re excited for all the things going on,” she said. “If you have ideas for downtown, let me know.”