ASHEBORO — On Oct. 5, the Asheboro City Council approved a request to rezone 3.3 acres of land to allow a large childcare center.
Beginning in 1982, the site at 624 Brewer St. and 621 Franks St. had been issued a permit for a large childcare center. But the facility closed a number of years ago.
Ashley Hedrick now wants to reopen it as Miss Ashley’s Enrichment Academy that could eventually take in up to 80 children, from infants to school-age children.
Hedrick’s request came with approval by city staff and the Asheboro Planning Board.
“I plan to be there a long time, as long as it’s beneficial to the community,” she told the council. She noted that the state has designated Randolph County as a childcare desert.
“I felt it’s the perfect location for low-cost childcare,” Hedrick said. “There has been no negative feedback from the neighbors.”
She did say there were questions from an adjacent apartment complex whether the childcare center would take some of its parking spaces. Hedrick’s plan calls for 22 off-street parking spaces and that on-street parking is available.
If the facility were to grow to more than 80 children, Hedrick would have to go to the city to find alternate parking.
She said the building is in relatively good condition with not much in the way of improvements necessary except to comply with the state’s safety requirements. The hours of operation would not exceed the limits of 6 a.m.-7 p.m.
Hedrick said her childcare facility would focus on character, team building and making good decisions. She hopes to open the center in January 2024.
Speaking in support of Hedrick, Cassie Link said the center would be within walking distance of her home.
Heather Semler of the Randolph County Partnership for Children told the council that “we’re struggling for childcare all over the county. Any additional center will be beneficial. Ashley is a great teacher and cares deeply.”
Trisha Vaughn said the facility “will be very convenient.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the request.
In other business, the council:
— Authorized city staff to submit a land-lease application to Norfolk Southern for property now owned by the city at 159 North St., the former Acme-McCrary hosiery mill.
The property of approximately 27,000 square feet is used as a cut-through street between Salisbury Street and Sunset Avenue. It was formerly used by the mill, which had agreements with Norfolk Southern.
According to the application, the property will be used for parking as well as access between public streets. The leased property will be five yards from the railroad tracks.
Asked how much the railroad would charge for the lend-lease, Trevor Nuttall, Community Development director, said, “They’ll tell us the price.”