PILOT MOUNTAIN — Town officials have decided to rally together to go door-to-door to collect easements for the Depot Street stream restoration project.
Monday night the board of commissioners learned of another grant approved for the Depot Street stream restoration. The new grant brings funding available to the town up to $1.1 million dollars for the project.
However, officials cannot proceed with the project just yet. The town still needs to collect 17 easements from property owners along the stream, for phase one of the project.
The first grant for the project was applied for mid-summer 2015, according to Michael Boaz, town manager. The collections of easements began shortly after.
After months of failed attempts at collecting easements, the board has decided to take matters into their own hands, planning a public meeting for March 28 at 6:30 p.m., in hopes to bring property owners to town hall and have the easements available to sign for those who wish to do so.
Once the public meeting is held, the board will plan a few week nights shortly after where they and other officials can go door-to-door with a notary to collect any remaining easements needed.
Commissioner Kim Quinn brought up one concern that she thought might be a road block for the project, owners of the New River Tire Facility.
“They told me they were not going to sign the easements, and wanted me to make that publicly known,” stated Quinn.
New River Tire Recycling Facility owns the most acreage frontage along the stream, stated Boaz during the meeting.
Owner Ben Bryant, in a later interview, expressed his concerns about the project.
“As of this moment we can’t gather that this project would benefit anybody. It’s a huge waste of money.”
Bryant explained he wasn’t in full understanding of the purpose behind the project, “why are they trying to redo something that is naturally there,” questioned Bryant.
“If they are priming up for a greenway,’ explained Bryant, “we have a huge security concern with a greenway.” A fire caused by arson nearly destroyed Bryant’s business in January 2016.”
A situation he is still trying to remedy, as his facility is still under construction to rebuild.
Mayor Dwight Atkins did not seemed concerned about the situation during the meeting stating. “We will deal with them.”