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County set to swear in election winners

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

Monday night’s Lincoln County Board of Commission meeting will begin in a more ceremonious manner than usual, as newly elected and re-elected members are inducted.
The 6:30 p.m. meeting will commence with Clerk of Superior Court Fred Hatley formally swearing in re-elected Commissioners Alex Patton and Carrol Mitchem, as well as new member Cecelia Martin, all of whom are Republicans who won their seats on the board in May’s primary election. None faced Democratic or unaffiliated challengers in the general election.
The election of a commission chair and vice chair will also be conducted, followed by the recognition of outgoing Commissioner George Arena, who opted not to seek re-election, for his service on the board and to the county.
A “public congratulations” reception will take place on the first floor of the Citizens Center, prior to the board reconvening at 7:30 p.m. in the Commissioners Room on the third floor.
On the agenda for the regular portion of the meeting is a capital-project ordinance for repairs to the old Oaklawn facility.
As the Times-News previously reported, the county was recently awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to go toward renovation of the historical building, formerly one of the Rosenwald Schools built for African-American students through a partnership between the Chicago-based owners of Sears and local communities in the early 1900s.
Its sentimental value within the community was one of the factors weighed by the board earlier this year when deciding on the fate of the building, which currently stands in poor condition.
The county applied for the CDBG grant this past spring after many weeks of discussion on Oaklawn’s future. The Board of Commissioners said they would approve repairs to the county-owned facility should the grant money come through to cover the cost.
The building’s planned use will be for the expansion of the Lincoln County Head Start Program, which is currently housed in an adjacent facility, as well as a potential base for a local branch of the Boys & Girls Club, both of which are in a lease agreement.
According to the submitted ordinance, to be voted upon by commissioners, the county will contribute $85,000 for previously agreed-upon roof repairs, while the Boys & Girls Club will be responsible for funding an additional $100,000. Combined with the grant money, the total estimated expenditures would be $685,000.
Other items on Monday night’s Board of Commission meeting agenda include:
A public hearing will be conducted regarding a request for a conditional-use permit to establish a solar-power generation facility from Strata Solar. The proposed 35-acre site is located on Triple H Lane, about 1,200 feet west of Maiden Highway in Lincolnton Township.
A public hearing will be conducted on North Carolina Small Cities CDBG funds.
A resolution of support will be presented for the Centralina Mobility Management Project Grant Application.
Commissioners will consider approving Stewart, Inc. to continue as the architect for the East Lincoln Rescue Squad Park, for which a PARTF grant of more than $350,000 was recently awarded to the county. They will also consider authorizing County Manager George Wood and Public Works Director Don Chamblee to negotiate a fee for final plans and construction documents for the park.
Commissioners will consider authorizing Wood to work with the Board of Education and an architect on the possible installation of a freezer facility at the old hospital building on Gamble Drive in Lincolnton for the school system’s Food Service Division, to be paid for by their cafeteria fund. The freezer locker would allow them to buy food in larger quantities and could result in significant savings.
Commissioners will consider approving criminal and driving background checks for volunteer fire departments.

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