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Mayor praises Edenton employees for clean-up efforts after Dorian

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BY MILES LAYTON
Staff writer

Friday, September 13, 2019

Mayor Roland Vaughan praised town employees who served on the front lines during and in the aftermath of Dorian's damaging invasion. 

“Dorian tried to ravage our city – the clean-up was efficient, very effective almost to the point of unbelievable as these things sometimes go,” Vaughan said during the Town Council meeting Sep. 10. “Prior to the storm, I visited with the electric and public works departments. Everybody was in tip top shape, highly organized ... Again, I thank all of you for the hard work, your professionalism and your attentiveness to getting Edenton back on its feet. We appreciate that.”

In other news, Town Manager Anne Marie Knighton provided a brief update regarding the future of the NC National Guard’s Sgt. Jeremy Hardison Readiness Center in Edenton.

In August, state and local leaders met to discuss how the NC National Guard is reducing and/or consolidating the total number of armories within the state. There are now 84 armories in operation in North Carolina. Over the next decade, the National Guard plans to reduce the number to about 50 or 60 locations, according to news reports.

This transition is a part of the Installation Strategic Action Plan where the NC National Guard is consolidating its facility footprint throughout the state into larger, multi-unit facilities based on demographic shifts in population centers over the past few decades and need to house larger, upgraded Army equipment.

August’s meeting to discuss Edenton's Readiness Center was held within the office of NC Senator Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan. Edenton-Chowan Partnership Board Chairman Jerry Climer, County Manager Kevin Howard and former Town Councilman Bob Quinn, also of the Partnership, attended the meeting. No decision has been made as to the armory’s future.  

During Tuesday’s (Sept. 10) council meeting, Knighton said Town Hall's Saoirse Scott, Lead for North Carolina Fellow, prepared a report that listed the aviation-related assets and proximity to the armory – a paper that will be passed to Steinburg, so he can share with the National Guard's leadership.

U.S. Senator Richard Burr's office has been contacted regarding the matter.

“We have federal support and good-strong state leadership support as well,” Vaughan said.

In other matters, anyone making plans for a late night food run to the border, aka Taco Bell, should know that building plans are moving forward. Southern Bank’s ATM machine at the Virginia Road corner site next to Burger King was moved. Taco Bell’s building permits are percolating through Town Hall. Knighton said a timeline suggests that construction may begin mobilization later this month with the project taking eight or nine months to complete.

Councilman Sambo Dixon received assurances from Knighton that the construction would not disturb the historical marker to the Rosenwald Schools that he said is “perhaps the most important African-American marked place is the Rosenwald School in town.”

Rosenwald Schools helped provide an education for black children in our community in the early 1900s. Dedicated at a formal ceremony in 2017, a highway marker pays tribute to how Edenton was home to the first Rosenwald School built in North Carolina.

And, council approved a $500 contribution to the NC National Guard Foundation NC National Guard World War I Monument. Chowan County Commission approved $500 more toward the project that seeks to erect a monument in France and a new monument on State Capitol Grounds to replace the existing small monument.

According to the foundation, there is no recognition whatsoever of what was accomplished by the 30th Division of the North Carolina National Guard during World War I.

The NC National Guard breaking the Hindenburg Line at the St. Quentin Canal on Sept. 29. The year 1918 was a critical turning point near the war’s end. Breaking out of the trenches increased maneuverability and the 30th Infantry contributed mightily through the end of the war. New York, Tennessee, France and Australia all have monuments or memorials to the actions of that day, each claiming they led the effort to break the line. The British even have two memorials that commemorate breaking the line. However, this impregnable defense was actually broken by the National Guard 30th Division from North Carolina, who originally penetrated the line and took the high ground. It is now time to commemorate their sacrifice.

In other news, council approved Police Chief Henry King's proposal for officers to change hand guns. King's initiative will cost around $1,800 and save the town more than $10,000 in firearms costs and $837 annually in ammunition costs.

Also, council approved plans to move forward with the quit claim deed and an amendment to best preserve the town's ownership of the Barker House for future generations. This process would require a public hearing and then a resolution adopted by Town Council.

Town Hall is still tweaking draft covenants as they relate to Neighborhood Redevelopment Zones.

And per the NC Housing Finance Agency Grant Housing Rehabilitation, council approved bids to rehabilitate two houses. The Wooten Company has reviewed the bids recommends award to William Holley Construction.

In news regarding the possible future of Hotel Hinton, Knighton said the property development company SAGA plans to meet a bank to secure financing for the project.

“We view that as an optimistic, positive sign,” she said.

Also, Town Hall has approved a proposal for aviation engineering services from Talbert & Bright for services.

And council approved a debris removal agreement with the NC Department of Transportation.

Staff writer Miles Layton may be reached at mlayton@ncweeklies.com 

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