Spirit of Rowan: Granite Quarry has plenty on its plate
By Mark Wineka
At a two-day retreat recently, the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen held a session called “town project updates” — and there were plenty of things to review.
“Some are obviously more long-term,” Town Manager Phil Conrad said. “Others are right in front of us.”
Town officials are trying to make things happen with a new industrial park, lure a grocery store to Granite Crossing Shopping Center, land a cold storage facility, expand walking trails and recreation areas, support a new residential subdivision, support newly funded state road projects and encourage a signature development in the central business district.
Here’s a rundown of items on Granite Quarry’s plate:
• Easter Creek Properties is building the first speculative building in Granite Industrial Park — a partnership between the town and Rowan County. To date, according to a multiparty agreement, the town has paid the water and sewer tap fees at a total cost of $48,057. Additional parcels remain in the park.
Beyond the first building, there are some things to work out with the town of Faith in connection with sewer service.
As of this writing, “Project Wheel,” a name given by the Rowan Economic Development Commission to a potential industrial expansion, has been cited as a possible tenant for the spec building. Landing Project Wheel probably would require property tax incentives from Granite Quarry.
• The town is working with a downtown property owner to assess the marketability of several parcels along U.S. 52. Two focal points are “the square” at U.S. 52 and Bank Street and the corner of U.S. 52 and Church Street.
At their retreat, town officials discussed requirements and what kinds of public-private partnerships might be possible on infrastructure such as stormwater systems and parking.
• Town officials have had continuing discussions with the owner of Granite Crossing Shopping Center, along with the owner of an IGA grocery store in Catawba County. “They are at a crossroads as to finding a major tenant,” Conrad said of the shopping center.
Residents have long expressed the desire for a grocery store.
• LGI Homes has proposed a 250-home subdivision — The Village at Granite — on 109 acres off Faith Road. Future phases would call for 40 units of multifamily housing on 5.68 acres and commercial development on an additional 3 acres.
• For at least seven years, the town, EDC and Rowan County have been working on bringing a cold storage refrigeration facility to town. It would provide cold storage for chicken producers, such as Tyson, when their own facilities are filled. If that potential is realized, the project would bring 30 new jobs with an average wage of $24 an hour.
• A private, out-of-state property owner has offered to donate to the town 9 acres near the Faith-Byrd roads intersection for use as a passive park. The property abuts the proposed 250-home subdivision.
• The town is working with the Carolina Thread Trail to realign the proposed route through town so it better follows the future U.S. 52 bypass. The realignment would connect the Old Stone House to the central business district with a walking trail.
• Another private property owner has offered to sell about 5 acres to the town for use as a leaf and limb storage spot. “The property would be a permanent solution for leaves and limbs,” Conrad said. The town’s been using a temporary location on South Rowan Street.
• Granite Quarry has received state contingency money from the General Assembly for two street projects. On one, the N.C. Department of Transportation will bring Veronica Lane to state standards at an estimated cost of $101,040.
On the other, the DOT will install sidewalks, curbs and gutters and other drainage improvements along U.S. 52 from Church Street to the entrance of M&K Barbecue. The state will pay a maximum of $82,390 on this work.
Meanwhile, Town Planner Steve Blount will continue efforts toward updating a comprehensive plan for Granite Quarry and establishment of downtown development guidelines.