Tryon asked to create new plaza at corner of Trade & Palmer

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Drainage issues could mean the town denies request

TRYON – The Town of Tryon was asked by A Taste of Olive & Grapes to create another plaza downtown, but town officials are struggling over whether to take over the property because of a long-standing drainage issue.


Council met Dec. 19 and discussed the proposal.


Town manager Zach Ollis said the property owner has been kind enough to offer the property to the town but a drainage issue has been found from Trade Street back towards Palmer Street and the town would be responsible for the pipe and any issues with the pipe.


Commissioner Bill Crowell said unless the property owner is willing to dig up that pipe and replace it properly, he’s not in favor of taking it over.


“I’ve been watching that parking lot sink ever since they did the work,” Crowell said.

Crowell said he’s guessing it will be in the $100,000 range just to fix the pipe in the parking lot there.


Commissioner Chrelle Booker said that would be a detriment to take on that project.


Commissioner Dr. Crys Armbrust said Tryon is in the process after 20 years of seeing the end of the downtown streetscape in sight and this is the last section.


“This is sort of the last opportunity to do something that would help that end of the downtown corridor,” Armbrust said. “That would give it a little more prominence for programs certainly.”


Armbrust mentioned the fellowship in front of those buildings during the Tryon Christmas Parade, when the Walk/Remembrance group gave out free hamburgers and hotdogs to the crowd in the lot.


Armbrust said he knows costs are a concern but asked when it comes up in January to not think of costs, but to be a little more visionary and look 10 and 20 years down the road.


A Taste of Olive & Grapes owner Jessica Phillips said her business is trying to be an anchor to pull people so they walk all the way through the town.


“Our goal is to make our end of Trade Street a destination,” said Phillips. “To do that we have to get noticed visually and be able to give people a chance to sit, visit and enjoy our end of town similar to the other end of the street. If the town takes over the area, we can have consistency from one end to the other.”


The town owns the plaza in front of the Tryon Coffeehouse Co-op and Huckleberry’s Restaurant at the center of town and provided benches for the plaza.


Richard McDowell, who owns the Coin Shop near A Taste of Olives & Grapes said sinkage is occurring about 25 feet from where the pipe ends diagonally. He said it’s a pipe issue underground and the seepage comes from the sidewalk to his building.


McDowell said a sinkhole occurred in the middle of the street years ago, leading him to believe the problem is more than just rain water, possibly a creek. He said it comes through every minute and it’s heavy and he doesn’t think the problems are just that pipe. He called that end of downtown the “red-headed step child.”


Crowell said there’s a huge hole in that pipe somewhere and he doesn’t feel like the town should be picking up that “Pandora’s Box.” He said there’s no telling what kind of structural damage is around that building.


Crowell suggested the town leave the issues to the property owner and if they fix it, the town can come in and do the streetscape after it’s been certified by an engineer.

The property is owned by Robert Scruggs.


Wanda May with the Tryon Downtown Development Association (TDDA) asked if there is nothing to compel a property owner to fix an issue like this.


Armbrust said he doesn’t think there is anyone who will ever logically be able to convince him that the Town of Tryon does not own that pipe. Crowell said, “we don’t.”


Ollis said he would like to get more information on the pipe so commissioners can make a decision in January.


Tryon Town Council meets again on Tuesday, Jan. 16.