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Local child care crisis on horizon?

Janet Imrick
Randolph Hub 


ASHEBORO —The Asheboro City Council heard projections for child care shortages and plans to im-prove downtown traffic, among many of the items they discussed at their regular May 9 meeting.


Julie Fowler, finance director of Randolph County Partnership for Children, informed the city council that funding from the COVID-19-related child care stabilization grant will end in June. She presented a survey of child care facilitators in the county who said this will likely lead to reduced pay for staff, and higher costs for families and more difficulty in hiring and retaining staff.


Downtown activity

• The city will conduct a study of downtown parking. Community Development Director Trevor Nuttall received permission to look for a consulting firm to look at the current parking availability and needs. Council member Kelly Heath said she would like the city to provide more education to drivers on parking options.

• Downtown Asheboro Inc. Executive Director Addie Corder presented the results of the Zoo City StrEAT Fest on April 20. She said they counted 1,500 people who ate with the local establishments who set up outdoor seating on Sunset Avenue. The North Carolina Zoo loaned two sculptures for the festival, stationed at the Sunset entrance to Bicentennial Park. Corder said the event was a success, and they would like to partner with the zoo on more downtown events.


Environmental matters

• The soil and groundwater around an old underground storage tank will require more observation. According to Nuttall, they took soil samples when they drained the tank beneath the historic mill on North Street and found some diesel byproducts were above the regulated level. The NC Department of Environmental Quality sent the city a notice for further site assessments, and the final report is expected this month.

• The city council approved contracts with six companies to buy seven chemicals for wastewater treatment through April 15, 2025.


Airport development

City Engineer Michael Leonard presented the 2023 airport authority report. He reported they received approval to construct 10-unit T-hangars at Asheboro Regional Airport. They added new runway lighting and got a tenant for a new 80x80 corporate hangar. Leonard presented two proposals for the construction of a new terminal. Mayor Pro Tem Walker Moffitt recommended the smaller of the two. He said it would suit the airport traffic and looks more financially feasible. The council also approved an offer by the NC Division of Aviation to write a letter of recommendation for terminal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration.


Property changes

• The city annexed the property for Fire Station 3 on Crestview Church Road. A public hearing was advertised before they could approve the ordinance. No one spoke for or against.

• City Council approved two rezoning requests:

— 919 Draper Street, a mix of commercial, industrial and residential land, was moved into the R15 residential zone. 

— 947 East Salisbury Street was rezoned from residential to B2 general commercial, at the request of the property owner, Robert Small. Asheboro Outdoor Power Equipment has been selling lawnmowers and other lawn care tools there for more than two decades, and city council members were surprised to learn that it was not already in the commercial zone.

• A new equipment lease was approved for New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, which keeps an array on the South Church Street water tank.