Greensboro City Council endorses NC Bond Act, allocates funds for Piedmont Triad Airport

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Maggie Young
   News Editor

The Greensboro City Council met for its bi-monthly meeting last Tuesday in the municipal building downtown. Among the myriad topic discussed were recognitions, supports and fund allocations.

The first item covered was a recognition of the city employees who aided in clearing snow and ice from the roads during the last winter storm.

According to Jim Westmoreland, City Manager, nearly one third of the available workforce was involved in clearing the roads.

“You can truly see the spirit of public service and leadership,” Westmoreland said about the Guilford Metro-911 workers, who answered various calls during the storm.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan addressed the crowd of workers.

“While we were encouraging everybody else to stay home off the road, we were encouraging you to get on the roads so they would be clear, and we really appreciate that,” Vaughan said.

The second item addressed was a resolution recognizing founders and volunteers of Community Tables, a group that cooks and serves Thanksgiving meals to low-income families and individuals throughout the triad.

Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter read the resolution that detailed the program, its progress and development, as well as estimations on the number of people who have benefitted from the organization over the years.

Marc Freiberg, late owner of Ham’s Restaurants, Mary Lacklen and Ken Conrad founded the organization in 1986; over the past 29 years, 85,000 people throughout the triad have received Thanksgiving meals.

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro raises approximately $20,000 annually for the purchase of food items in order to serve an average of 3,000 people each year.

Councilwoman Abuzuaiter noted from the resolution that a $5 donation provides a full, traditional thanksgiving meal.

It was stated in the resolution that some recipients of meals return in subsequent years to assist in serving meals to others.

Mary Lacklen thanked the Council for the recognition and told those in attendance that over 10,000 volunteers have assisted during the life of the charity.

“[Community Tables] is truly a grassroots effort,” Lacklen said. “Projects like this are not built alone.

Following the recognition, the Council voted to support the Connect NC Bond Referendum.

The Greensboro General Assembly will include a vote for the Bond on the March 15 ballot.

Mayor Vaughan read the resolution, which noted that the three main public higher education institutions in Greensboro (UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina A&T and Greensboro Technical Community College) contribute approximately $2 billion in economic influence to the Piedmont Triad; the Bond would provide an opportunity for the institutions to make long-awaited enhancements to their programs and campuses.

Mayor Vaughan expressed her support for the Bond.

“This will really be a great economic driver in Guilford County,” Vaughan said.

Should the Bond be implemented, UNCG will directly benefit from $105 million, which is to be put towards a new nursing and STEM building to replace the McIver building.

Nikki Baker, Interim Director of Strategic Initiatives, spoke on behalf of Chancellor Gilliam to comment on the new McIver project.

“That’s a strategically designed project that will address enrollment growth opportunities in nursing and other health sciences,” Baker said.

She explained that the new building would aid in UNCG’s growth by expanding the STEM labs and classroom space.

She also cited Chancellor Gilliam, saying that were he able to attend, he would endorse the Bond as an investment in prosperity for citizens and students.

NC A&T will receive $90 million that will be utilized for a new Engineering building.

Alan Pike, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at GTCC, offered his support for the Bond. He informed the Council that GTCC will see renovations of their Medlin Center, built in 1975, with the $9.5 million the Bond has allotted.

The resolution for support passed unanimously.

After a public comment period, the board discussed the allotment of $2.5 million for projects at the Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA).

The resolution brought to the Council stated that the allotment of funds would be contingent upon surrounding municipalities investing an additional $1.5 million.

Several members of Council expressed concerns that the rhetoric suggested that the money would not be utilized if other municipalities did not offer $1.5 million.

District Attorney Tom Carruthers assured the Council that the resolution has been amended.

“[Greensboro] will continue to seek assistance, but it does not require that assistance to be paid,” Carruthers said.

After much discussion over the phrasing and lucidity of this portion of the resolution, it was passed with the understanding that the money would be set aside until other municipalities offered an addition $1.5 million or PTIA came forward with a project proposal.

The next City Council Meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 5:30 p.m.



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