ASHEBORO — Asheboro is looking to add a third fire station that would serve the southern portion of the city.
On Nov. 10, Fire Chief Willie Summers updated the City Council on the need for another station. He said Asheboro’s population has grown from 10,797 in the 1970s to some 28,000 today, and it’s expected to increase as more residential developments are built.
“Our response time should be five minutes,” said Summers. “It’s currently 5 minutes, 14 seconds in the southeast.”
The chief added that there have been 4,263 calls that the two fire stations have answered so far this year. That’s an average of more than 400 per month. At this rate, he said, 2022 will exceed 5,000 calls for the first time.
“It’s taking a toll on the firefighters,” Summers said. “We had to relocate one company to the county EMS (Emergency Medical Services). Stations 1 and 2 are at maximum capacity.”
Station 1, at 401 S. Church St., was built in 1971 and Station 2, at 2105 N. Fayetteville St., opened in 1972. Both have been renovated during the past couple of years.
Summers said Station 3 would have a dedicated emergency operations center. Funding for construction and equipment would come partially from a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant of $3 million and another $1.9 million that was appropriated in the state budget. The FEMA money won’t be released until after assessments and environmental studies have been completed of the site that's chosen for the station.
The new station would be expected to serve Asheboro for 50-60 years, Summers said. “We want it to be something for the citizens to be proud of.”
Asked about a possible location, Summers said, “Properties are at a premium.” But the new station will be south of Dixie Drive, perhaps in the vicinity of Zoo Parkway.
Summers also said they would be recruiting locally for 12-15 future firefighters for training prior to opening the station.
Mayor David Smith thanked Summers for the job being done by the Asheboro Fire Department. “We’re keeping our fire service up to date.”
In other business …
Cone Health buys 64 acres for new cancer center
The city council set a date for a public hearing on a request by Cone Health to annex into the city 64 acres on the west side of Interstate 73/74 at Spero Road. The city limits currently end on the east side of the interstate.
A representative of Cone Health told Randolph Hub that the property will be the location of a new cancer center. Doug Allred, Cone Health Marketing external communications manager, sent the following statement:
“Cone Health has purchased 64 acres on the west side of I-73 on Spero Road for a new cancer center that will provide technologically advanced services in Randolph County. We are asking that the site be annexed into the city of Asheboro. Design and other preliminary work is under way.
"As part of the agreement to sell Randolph Health to American HealthCare Systems, Cone Health agreed to end its joint ownership arrangement of the cancer center at Randolph Hospital and build a new cancer center in Asheboro. Cone Health is currently treating medical oncology patients at 724 Thomas St. and radiation oncology patients at Randolph Hospital.
"Cone Health Cancer Center at Asheboro will bring cancer and support services to one convenient location. It should join the array of Cone Health primary care and specialty practices in Randolph County in 2024.”
Positano asks to be included in social district
The City Council addressed a request to extend the Zoo City Social District to include a business on Church Street.
Amy Rudisill, interim director of Downtown Asheboro Inc. (DAI), and Al Laprade, DAI president, told the Council that the request was by J.B. Davis of Farm at Little River, owner of the property at 130 S. Church St. which includes Positano, an Italian restaurant which serves alcoholic beverages.
The current boundary of the social district includes Sunset Avenue from Fayetteville Street to Church Street, with a portion along North Street. The request would add South Church Street to Hill Street.
Laprade informed the Council that two other businesses on South Fayetteville Street will be making a similar request in the near future.
Council member Clark Bell made a motion for city staff to draft a proposal with maps to include the west side of South Fayetteville Street to Academy Street and also South Church Street to Hill Street for consideration at the Dec. 8 Council meeting. The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
The Zoo City Social District allows patrons of participating businesses to buy alcoholic beverages in special cups and take them outside while remaining within the boundaries of the social district. Those containers cannot be taken into other businesses that sell alcohol.
Non-alcohol businesses can post signs welcoming patrons with alcoholic beverages. Those businesses without welcoming signs are off limits to those carrying alcoholic beverages.
Sidewalks will be added as part of new interchange
The City Council approved a request to enter into an agreement with the NC Department of Transportation to construct sidewalks as part of the project to improve the US 64/NC 49 interchange with I-73/74.
The sidewalks would extend from Mack Road to the interstate. According to the agreement, the City of Asheboro’s portion of the cost would be $137,655 of the estimated total of $458,850.
Council member Bill McCaskill wondered who would be using sidewalks at that location. “We need sidewalks at the fast foods (on Dixie Drive).”
In response, Smith said, “This is a bargain, 20 cents on the dollar.” He also noted that in the future there could be a hotel or other commercial businesses in the area.
The board unanimously approved the agreement.
Input sought on Land Development Plan
The City Council made plans for three public workshops to seek input related to the ongoing update to the city’s Land Development Plan.
— The first workshop will be from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Nov. 28 at the Randolph County Department of Social Services meeting room.
— The second will be on Nov. 29 at the Randolph Community College Continuing Education Industrial Center, also from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
— The final workshop will be Nov. 30 at the Asheboro Public Library from 4-7 p.m.
The City Council …
- Accepted a rezoning request for property at 1622 Zoo Parkway, from B2 to I1.
The request was by Bob Crumley, who said his family owns the property and had spent time and money, believing businesses would be developed down Zoo Parkway. He said they’ve “tried for 14 years” without success.
Crumley said that of the 1.6 acres, only about an acre could be developed.
“The area is a combination of industrial, commercial and residential,” he said. “The small size of this parcel will result in a small user and does not significantly change the overall ‘flavor’ of the area.”
- Were told that a traffic study at Salisbury Street and Lexington Road should be completed in a few weeks.
- Approved the permanent closure of a section of West Pritchard Street.
- Were informed that the Veterans Day Parade was postponed to Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m. in downtown Asheboro. The Christmas Parade is scheduled for Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. and Christmas Downtown is set for Dec. 9 from 6-9 p.m.