Tryon makes progress on some Eastside issues

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017

TRYON– Following two meetings so far this year where residents of Tryon’s Eastside community have brought concerns of the town ignoring issues, the town reports it has begun making some progress.

Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, March 21 and heard from town manager Zach Ollis on the progress of recent concerns by citizens and council.

Ollis said speed bumps were installed on Peake Street. Signs were also placed warning drivers of the bumps and the town may look at putting another sign as drivers go up the hill following some complaints from residents.

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Ollis also said he met with Tryon Community Development Director Paula Kempton, Tryon Tax Collector Pam Justice and Tryon attorney Bailey Nager regarding the process of demolishing homes and related issues.

“We have found that the town has more options in how we handle the lien process with various attorneys,” Ollis told council.

Ollis said a meeting has been scheduled with Justice and Nager and the town’s law firm it uses to process liens. Ollis said so far, the town has found out that it may be able to process the property without having to place a bid on the property itself. Ollis said they are still waiting on word from the law firm because it would have tax and lien implications for both the town and the county.

Other work on the Eastside recently is that Shepherd Street repairs were scheduled to be complete this week. Ollis said the town fixed the culvert, restored the drainage ditch and laid an asphalt patch to widen the stretch next to the culvert.

Ollis said the town has also contacted Trace & Company to discuss filling any cracks on Peake Street from the settling of the new road, which was recently paved.

“Our crew also looked at the complaints from residents regarding the road being higher than it previously was thus creating issues for some driveways,” Ollis said. “I will have Trace look at this as well when they are out.”

The town has also contacted the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) for kudzu complaints. Ollis said while this doesn’t apply to most of the Eastside, he did find out that the state claims responsibility for a portion of Markham Road, all of Jackson Street and the lower portion of East Howard Street, from Ziglar Field to the town’s sewer plant.

Also, Ollis said the leaf run and brush run were completed as of last Tuesday and Kempton has shared with Ollis her list of properties to keep on the town’s radar for issues such as minimum housing, greenway expansion and flood plain issues.

Dr. Joseph Fox spoke during the town’s meeting and thanked Ollis for his communication following the last meeting. Fox also mentioned the town shouldn’t forget about needed repairs on Aspen Street. Fox detailed how a large vehicle, particularly an ambulance or fire truck, cannot safely navigate the road. Fox said at one time seven homes were located on Aspen Street, but now there is only one, but if there is an emergency, vehicles could not get to the home.

“If some of the issues would have been addressed over the last 16 years we would not be in a crisis mode right now,” Fox said.

Ollis said the town will have to look at Aspen Street. He also said he met with commissioner Roy Miller recently about possible purchases the town could do to connect Vaughn Creek in order for it to grow.

Eastside community resident Alan Suber said he has been speaking to the youth of the community and they feel they have no recourse. He said the youth of the Eastside wonder why there are no businesses uptown for the youth.

Commissioner Crys Armbrust asked Suber for suggestions. Armbrust said every child, every individual in this town should have no qualms about bringing their grievances to the town, particularly if they relate to personal safety.

Suber said he’d like to see some businesses put into the Eastside community. He also said he feels community policing, where the community can engage with the officers on a more personal level, would go a long way.

Commissioner Bill Ingham told Suber to never hesitate to come before council, or police chief Jeff Arrowood or Ollis. Ingham said as far as businesses in the Eastside community, the town doesn’t open businesses.

Suber said all he is saying is people need an opportunity.

Miller said some of the issues are zoning.

Ollis mentioned getting a retired police officer who spoke at Tryon’s TEDX event to come to Tryon to speak with residents.

Fox said one aspect is to look at economic development and community development together. Fox said there may be some opportunities to look at community reinvestment grants.

Others from the audience mentioned the county’s local SCORE chapter, which helps businesses get started.

An Eastside cleanup day is scheduled for April 22 at 9 a.m. with volunteers asked to meet at the Roseland Center.