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Tarboro to build shell building

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BY JOHN H. WALKER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

TARBORO — Taking a step toward having space ready for occupancy for new commercial ventures looking to locate in Tarboro, the Tarboro Town Council voted unanimously Monday night to convey about 18 acres of land in the Tarboro Commerce Center in exchange for the construction of a 65,000-square-foot shell spec building.

Town Manager Troy Lewis told the council that the value of the land is about $270,000 while the property developer will be required to have at least a $2 million total investment in the project.

Ward 8 Councilman Garland Shepheard, who has missed the previous three meetings because of the ongoing budget impasse in Raleigh and his role as sergeant-at-arms for the state House, asked if the town was giving the property away or if it was being paid.

Lewis told Shepheard the town would be paid once the building was sold, but that the town would pay interest on the cost.

The building, which will be built at the corner of Commerce Center Drive and McNair Road, north of Keihin, is the result of the decision by both Corning and Triangle Tire to come to Tarboro.

Earlier this summer, Lewis told the Telegram there is hope that ancillary business also would locate in Tarboro, making the spec building more marketable as it already would be completed sans customization.

The vote was unanimous with Ward 4 Councilman C.B. Brown participating by telephone.

In other business, council members entered into a 20-minute discussion regarding the providing of public Wi-Fi at Braswell and Ray recreation centers.

In fact, only Ward 3 Councilman Steve Burnette chose to remain silent during the discussion that included Parks and Recreation Director Travis Stigge and Police Chief Jesse Webb.

Lewis told the council that to provide 500mb internet at both centers would cost about $6,000 a year, which raised concerns from District 5’s John Jenkins, District 2’s Leo Taylor, Shepheard and Brown.

“My concern is that if we do this, we’re making a $6,000 exception to our budget, which we’ve already voted on,” Taylor said. “I think we should look at the future.”

District 1’s Othar Woodard asked about making hotspots available for meetings and looking at addressing the need in future budgets.

Ward 7’s Sabrina Bynum was adamant that if the town did not provide Wi-Fi, it was not properly serving its citizens.

“I don’t care if a single kid doesn’t use it next week,” she said. “At least it is available.”

Both Stigge and Webb told the council that providing hotspots for presentations would not be difficult.

In the end, council voted unanimously to make hotspots available when requested in advance and Lewis told Jordan that if the council wants the administration to look at included public access in the budget, they would.

Council also issued a proclamation recognizing Oct. 13 as National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

The next meeting will be on Oct. 14.

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