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Taxi service, North Generals Boulevard improvements on agenda for City Council

ELIZABETH HEFFNER
Staff Writer

A new taxi service may be in Lincolnton’s future.
Lincolnton City Council members will hold a public hearing at their meeting Thursday night regarding a request for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity to operate a taxi cab service.
According to City Clerk Donna Flowers, the request comes from Byron Gullermo Porras-Lopez, who recently relocated to Lincolnton from New Jersey. In her memo to City Council, Flowers said Porras-Lopez has been operating a taxi service in New Jersey for the past five years and would like to operate a call-for-hire taxi service in Lincolnton.
City Council members will also consider a contract between the city and the North Carolina Department of Transportation for improvements to the intersection of East Main Street and Generals Boulevard.
According to a memo from Planning Director Laura Elam, the city previously requested and received two CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality) grants for improvement of the intersection of East Main Street and Generals Boulevard. The total amount of approved CMAQ funding for the project is $581,250 including $465,000 in federal funds and $116,250 in local match.
The proposed project would involve improvements to the intersection including “completion of the sidewalk system, high visibility crosswalks, pedestrian refuge islands, countdown timers and replacement of the existing wood traffic signal poles and span wire with steel poles and mast arms.”
According to the preliminary engineering plan and preliminary cost estimate prepared by TGS Engineers, the total project cost is estimated to be $710,000. NCDOT has agreed to pay the portion of the project costs related to milling and repaving of the intersection. TGS Engineers estimated the milling and repaving will cost approximately $100,000, leaving a net estimated project cost of approximately $610,000. Elam also said City Council may utilize Powell Bill funds to cover the local match as well as costs that run beyond the $581,250 in CMAQ funding.
NCDOT has prepared a project agreement, which would allow the city to seek reimbursement of up to $465,000 of the project cost. City Council members will need to vote to officially accept the grant funding and initiate the project. City Council must take formal action in time to return the agreement by Oct.27.
The Downtown Development Association of Lincolnton, Inc. Board of Directors is requesting that City Council consider extending the location of the Alive After Five summer concert series beer garden area to the 200 Block of East Main Street for a Sept. 25 event.
According to a memo from Abby Cole, interim Business and Community Development director, since the introduction of the car show to the summer concert series, several car enthusiasts have expressed their interest in the ability to consume alcoholic beverages purchased in the 100 block within the 200 block area. She defined the 200 block area located on East Main Street between Academy Street and Poplar Street.
City Council members will also consider contracts for the 2015 Hog Happenin’ Event and Beer Garden map as well as for alcohol sales at the 2014 Lovable Lincolnton Wine and Art Festival.
City Manager Jeff Emory is expected to update council members on the next course of action needed to progress with the development of a citywide strategic plan. The Times-News previously reported that City Council and several department heads met for a special called meeting Aug. 27 to share their visions for Lincolnton’s future. After much discussion, the attendees narrowed their list to four overarching initiatives that focused on the following:
Developing a Downtown Lincolnton and Main Street vision, focusing on improving local nightlife and attracting new businesses, while maintaining and supporting current businesses.
Working toward a “customer-focused, cost-efficient and productive city,” with objectives including providing a more interactive and user-friendly website for the city, obtaining feedback from local businesses and researching health insurance options for city employees.
Creating a comprehensive Industrial Recruitment plan, which would research potential future industrial park locations within the city, as well as talking with district legislators about the inadequacies of the state’s tier system in regard to available incentives.
Developing a Human Relations Council to promote diversification in the city’s workforce, along with identifying methods to communicate more efficiently and effectively with citizens and county officials.
Lincolnton’s City Council will meet at 7 p.m. on Sept. 4 at City Hall for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

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