The town of Elon Board of Alderman met for an agenda session on Nov. 1 to discuss the design and creation of an Elon gathering space near Pandora’s Pies. The board also discussed the water line along East Haggard, appointment and reappointment for Elon’s planning board and the adoption of an ADA self-assessment and transition plan.
Overview of the design of new town gathering space
The meeting opened with a special presentation from Allison Platt, a partner of Regeneration by Design — an architecture and planning company from Goldsboro, North Carolina — who showcased several design ideas for a new gathering space that is to fill the currently blocked off tent area near Pandora’s Pies.
“We went through the existing conditions, which was the first thing for me to understand what was going on,” Platt said. “We also went through a list of what some people thought was important.”
These conditions were displayed on a list of desired elements given to the Board of Aldermen. Some of these desired elements were to have the gathering space and sidewalks leveled, a small stage area, comfortable lighting for nighttime events, protection from cars and a digital sign.
While the total cost of the project was not discussed in depth, Platt said the increased costs of items like tables and chairs could impact the overall cost.
The area that this plaza will cover is still in discussion. Pandora’s Pies recently revealed that the space currently inhabited by their patio area may not be used for this project.
The date that construction will begin on the plaza is pending.
Discussion of upgrade of water line
The upgrade of the East Haggard water line has been discussed for several years, but the planned expansion of Elon University’s campus has made this issue more pressing.
After receiving statements of qualifications from several engineering firms within the state, it was determined that Alley, Williams, Carmen, & King — operating out of Burlington — would be best suited for this project. The current value of the proposed contract is $290,000.
“This is not a competitive bid conversation like construction is,” said Town Manager Rich Roedner. “It is purely based on qualifications.”
The issue of communication with Elon University on the water line was brought up by Alderman Mark Greene. Roedner stated that Elon University does not have a budget set for this project, and that it will be several years before they do. Currently, the Town of Elon is looking for a way for both the Town of Elon and Elon University to pay for their share of the upgrade.
Another potential obstacle for this upgrade is the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s plan to re-pave East Haggard within the next few years.
Reappointment and appointment of the Elon Planning Board
Two seats of the Elon Planning Board, held by Ralph Harwood and Diane Gill, are set to expire in December of this year. Another seat, currently occupied by Karla Leath, will be vacated as a result of her moving out of Elon jurisdiction.
What may be done with these seats was briefly discussed. Gill wishes to be reinstated, while Harwood wishes to step down. In-town alternate Phil Owens has expressed interest in stepping up into Harwood’s Seat. Harwood has agreed to switch places with Owens — meaning Harwood would take the position of in-town alternate.
Karla Leath’s daughter, Aeisha Leath, was the only applicant for her seat. The Planning Board last month made a recommendation for Aeisha to fill Karla’s seat.
These appointments are set to be done this month.
ADA self-assessment and transition plan adoption
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that local governments perform self-assessments on current programs in place and facilities regarding accommodations. In June 2020, the Town of Elon entered into a contract with Stewart Inc. — a design, engineering and planning firm based in NC — to assist with this assessment. The draft plan was presented to the board in August, where public input was added to the plan afterwards.
Alderman Monti Allison expressed concerns from when the ADA self-assessment was previously discussed.
“When we were doing the ADA before, one of the things that kept coming up time and time again was that sidewalk in front of the old elementary school across the road,” Allison said. “ You’ve got telephone poles in the middle of the sidewalk, there’s not a curve structure for the handicapped and there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic there.”
According to Assistant Town Manager Pamela DeSoto, the plan is now in its final draft. It will be adopted through a vote on Nov. 9.
The next Board of Aldermen meeting will take place next week on Nov. 9.