City Council Holds Public Hearing on Community Needs Assessment

Daniel Prince

Infrastructure improvements, demolition of dilapidated houses, and street resurfacing are all top priorities

Prior to the Union City Council meeting Tuesday, Angela Kirkpatrick, Community Development Planner with the Catawba Regional Council of Governments, went over the Community Development Block Grant program and criteria with the council. The city has received several CDB grants through the years to help upgrade infrastructure and make other improvements within the city, particularly to benefit its low-to-moderate income citizens. Kirkpatrick went over the needs assessment list from last year. The list must be updated each year to identify and prioritize the city’s needs.

The top priority last year was infrastructure improvements and continued revitalization efforts in the Union Mill Village and Excelsior Mill Village, as well as the Medical Sciences Drive area and the Monarch Mill area in cooperation with Union County. Work has been done in many of these areas, but others will remain a priority for the coming year.

The #2 priority last year was the demolition of dilapidated houses in the City of Union. The city already has a grant for that and has been working to demolish as many as possible, but City Administrator Joe Nichols said it has been a difficult process to acquire the necessary permissions and all that is involved in being able to demolish such structures. Nichols also said there are many more in need of demolition, so that is likely to stay as a priority for the city.

The #4 priority was to continue efforts to prepare for, respond to, and prevent the coronavirus. While that is also likely to stay on the list, council members said that with all the other government programs out there helping, it could be dropped in priority.

Nichols said one priority that was lowest on last year’s list needs to be higher this year, and that is to address concerns about potholes, street resurfacing, and sidewalks on streets not in the central business district.

Items mentioned for possible inclusion are sidewalk and storm drainage repairs; regionalism in the sewer and water areas, as the city is continuing to try and work with the county and the Town of Jonesville to extend industrial sewer up the 176 corridor to open that area for industrial growth and development; and perhaps a fire service substation, which may be needed with a potential new housing development being planned.

Kirkpatrick will take the suggestions and come up with a proposed needs assessment list for 2022 that City Council will review, edit if needed, and adopt.

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