Mount Holly turns down Parks and Rec sign study

by Alan Hodge

The Mount Holly City Council unanimously voted to shelve a project meant to give municipal recreational facilities and parks signs a fresh look.

At its Nov. 14 meeting, the council turned down an Oct. 24 request by Parks and Recreation Director Ed Smith to have the Concord-based design and fabrication firm ACSM design a uniform, updated system of signs for the city’s recreational facilities.

Several council members cited cost as the reason behind their votes. ACSM Director Glen Nocik told the council that a Parks and Recreation sign study would cost the city $16,300, with an up-front cost of $7,000.

“I can’t see that kind of money at this time,” council member Jim Hope told Smith.

Council member David Moore said he agreed with Hope.

“We want to rethink this,” he said.

Although the council ultimately turned down the sign study, Smith said he doesn’t think that the idea to update the Parks and Recreation Department’s sign system is dead.

“This is not the end,” Smith said. “We will go back and revisit this with the Parks and Recreation Committee to see what we can do. The whole goal is to make the park signs look first-class and more professional.”

Also during the meeting, the council gave unanimous approval to a request made by Planning and Development Director Greg Beal to complete and submit an application for a North Carolina Department of Transportation Pedestrian Master Plan Grant. Currently, Mount Holly doesn’t have a pedestrian master plan in place, making the city ineligible for state grant money for pedestrian safety.

Beal pointed out that two years ago, Belmont received $300,000 in a Safe Route to School Grant, and Mount Holly was passed over because the city lacked a master plan for sidewalks, even though a basic survey had been administered to determine where they were most needed.

“No agency will give a town grant money if it doesn’t have a plan on how to spend it,” Beal told the council. “Every grant application asks for a plan. If there’s no plan, the application goes to the bottom of the pile.”

According to Beal, Mount Holly has received $5 million in grant funding during the past several years using plans, such as the Catawba River Greenway Master Plan, Linear Park Plan, the N.C. Highway 27 Corridor Study, the Strategic Vision Plan and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

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