City Manager’s Report
City Manager Jon Mendenhall
Eden Youth Council
The City is accepting applications for the 2021-22 City of Eden Youth Council. Membership is open to individuals who live in the Morehead High School Attendance Zone (MHS, college, homeschool, or private school students) and are between the ages of 14 and 20.
This experience provides our youth with:
• Service opportunities
• Development of leadership and professional skills
• Networking amongst civic leaders
• Coordinating opportunities for Eden youth
• Great experience to list on resumes and college applications
Applications are available online on the City’s website.
This latest Eden store celebrated its ribbon cutting on April 7 at its 842 S. Van Buren Road location next to Tractor Supply. They offer interior storage spaces, allowing you to drive into the building to reach your storage space in a clean and safe environment. For more information, contact them at 336-660-2770.
Facebook (from Business NC Magazine)
Dealing with the impact of the pandemic has had mixed results for the state’s small businesses compared with peers nationally, according to Facebook research.
The search engine giant reported these results based on February data:
- Only 17% of small businesses in N.C. reduced employment because of COVID-19, ten points below the national average.
- About 44% of N.C. small businesses reported that their sales were lower than sales in February 2020, seven points below the national average.
- However, 63% of business owners in N.C. are confident in their ability to stay open for at least six months, which is five points below the national average and seven points below the average for southern states. About 73% of S.C. business owners are confident in their ability to continue operating for at least six months.
Don’t let pollen turn your car yellow. ModWash offers monthly rates that allow you unlimited washes for your vehicle starting at $29.99 so it will look its best this spring. They are located at 104 E. Harris Street in the Food Lion Shopping Center. Call them at 336-642-9950 for more information.
Virtually all Eden industries and many commercial businesses are eagerly seeking employees. If you need a job, check the N.C. Works website to learn about the opportunities in Eden and Rockingham County.
Originally slated to employ 85 people, there are more than 90 workers at the Summit Road facility. A sign of the economy recovering is the need for yarn, which has resulted in the plant running at full strength to keep up with demand.
Soon you will see cranes on the Nestle Purina site as the building is raised three times its height compared to when MillerCoors operated it. The company’s human resources staff is creating training programs for the future Eden employees. When the Nestle Purina announcement was made, the N.C. Department of Commerce estimated it would have a $2 billion positive impact on the state.
Signode (formerly Blue Ridge Plastics)
This company has made significant improvements and expanded from 30 to 80 employees with 100 to be employed by the end of 2021. They make packaging materials, including plastic frames and divider sheets for pallets. They are located at 11511 NC Highway 770 east of Eden.
Stacker compiled a list of N.C. cities with the fastest growing home prices using data from Zillow. Cities are ranked by the change in Zillow Home Values Index for all homes over the last year as of January 2021. Cities in the 15,000 largest markets in the U.S. were considered. Eden saw a 21.8% increase and ranked #2 of the top 30 N.C. cities and is ranked #1 in fastest growing home prices amongst cities in the Greensboro-High Point metro area. The 10-year home price change was +42.8%.
Paul Prewitt 101 Birthday Celebration
There was a great turnout at Eden resident Paul Prewitt’s 101 birthday celebration on March 23. Eden and Rockingham County emergency services lined Grant Street with each Eden police officer shaking Mr. Prewitt’s hand, wishing him a happy birthday. City Council and staff also joined the parade. In 2015, when Mr. Prewitt was a mere 95 years old, he helped Eden volunteers fill Salvation Army Christmas Angel grocery boxes. Mr. Prewitt was right in there with the rest of us helping those in need. City of Eden’s Marketing Manager Cindy Adams was the main coordinator of this effort, which was covered by Fox-8 News. Congratulations Mr. Prewitt. We wish you many more birthday celebrations!
Rockingham County’s Rockstar
Rockingham County Economic Development Director Leigh Cockram has overseen significant industrial growth since coming to the county in February of 2019. Last year was an especially good year with more than $886.5 million in investment and 1,008 jobs announced, in addition to $5.5 million in infrastructure grants approved and 84 grants made to small businesses. Cockram worked with Eden Economic Development to bring Nestle Purina to Eden and supported Night Owl National Contractors in its opening of a countertop operation in the former Eden K-Mart space and its renovation of the former Eden Mall into an entrepreneurship facility. For Rockingham County, 79.5% of all investment made in the decade 2010-2020 came in 2020, a pandemic year. This alone is a remarkable feat.
Eden’s Economic Development Director Mike Dougherty, recognizing Cockram’s energy and skills, contacted Business NC magazine and urged them to write a story about her. The April 2021 issue of this publication features Ms. Cockram (with her photo on the cover and the title “Rockstar Status”) and tells a great story of her achievements in Eden and Rockingham County. Congratulations Leigh—this is well-deserved.
Grown & Gathered
Our spring Grown & Gathered is SOLD OUT! The event will take place on Thursday, May 20 along the canal at the Spray Mercantile. The food is being prepared by Jarrett Nycamp of The Blissful Palette Events & Catering. Our summer Grown & Gathered will take place August 12.
Piedmont Pottery Festival
The 18th Annual Piedmont Pottery Festival is set to take place on Saturday, June 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church located at 582 Southwood Drive. Potters from all across N.C. and VA will be presenting the finest in handcrafted pottery. There will be demonstrations and door prizes all throughout the day. Admission is free.
We are now accepting vendor applications for RiverFest! Please check out www.ExploreEdenNC.com where you will find applications for artisans/crafters/civic, business and food vendors. Our dates this year are September 17 and 18!
A new mural adorns the side of Ramsey’s Barber Shop located on Morgan Road in the Spray area of town. It depicts a vintage “City Strip” that was placed on the front of vehicles years ago. It is a beautiful addition to our city’s public art collection! Thanks to local artist Brandon Hardison for a job well done!
Spring is Here! Explore Our Trails!
Spring in Eden is a beautiful time of year! Take advantage of these warm sunny days and get out and explore the Smith River Butterfly Trail along the Smith River Greenway where you can also visit the otter sculpture or view the river from the observation deck. Walk along the beautiful Matrimony Creek Nature Trail and have lunch or supper under the shelter. You can also visit Freedom Park with all its fun things to do or walk the Freedom Park Nature Trail. Come sit or swing in Grogan Park and enjoy the shady trail area, chimes and public art. So many options!
FY 2020-21 Street Resurfacing Contract, No. 2
The Eden City Council approved to award the FY 2020-21 Street Resurfacing Contract, No. 2 to Waugh Asphalt, Inc. on March 16. The contract consists of the resurfacing of Patterson Street (Washington Street to Center Church Road) and Kennedy Avenue (Kings Highway to Stadium Drive). Construction is scheduled to start in early May.
NCDOT Road Resurfacing – Kings Highway
APAC-Atlantic, Inc. has begun construction on Kings Highway. The damaged/worn manholes and water valve boxes were replaced on April 8 and 9. The asphalt milling and resurfacing phase of the contract will start the week of April 19. The work is expected to take approximately two weeks. Please use extreme caution when traveling in this area.
Waterline Replacement Projects Update
A bid opening is to be held April 19 for the Bridge Street waterline replacement project. This project will involve the replacement of the existing water main between Irving Avenue and Oak Street.
PARKS AND RECREATION
COVID-19 numbers are going down, thus opening more things up for Parks & Recreation and its facilities. Governor Roy Cooper increased the number of people allowed to gather indoors from 25 to 50 and the number outdoors from 50 to 100.
Practices are as follows:
Co-ed Peanut Baseball (ages 4 - 6) will practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.
Dixie Youth Coach Pitch (ages 7 - 8) will practice on Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m.
Dixie Youth Minors (ages 9 - 10) will practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.
Dixie Youth Ozone (ages 11 - 12) will practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.
Girls Softball (ages 9 - 10, 11 - 12 and 13 – 15) will practice on Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m.
Adult/Youth Kickball began practicing on April 8.
Pony Baseball (ages 13 - 14) began practicing on April 9.
All of the above practices will be held at Freedom Park.
Bridge Street & Mill Avenue Recreation Centers
These two facilities will be open Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.
During the past month there were approximately 891 visits at Bridge Street and 1,606 visits by residents at Mill Avenue that participated in the following activities: exercise classes, basketball (Around the World), basketball (Horse), pickleball, walking track, playground and weight lifting. The after-school program continues at the recreation centers.
We are now renting out shelters and some facilities. Karate classes are once again being held at the Boone Road facility.
During the past month, there were approximately 2,500 visits by residents and non-residents who participated in the following activities: walking track, nature trail, skateboard park, basketball courts, playground use and dog park. Two tournaments were held at the park during the month of March.
Freedom Park and all other greenways and trails are closed each day from dusk until dawn unless there is an event planned. The gates at Freedom Park will be locked accordingly.
The Splash Pad will open on Memorial Day.
Garden of Eden Center
The Senior Center was very active for the month of March. We had several workshops, virtual and in-person. We offered “Laughter is the Best Medicine,” “My Big Fat Mouth Workshop,” “Healthy Recipes for Success” and an Eden Drug information session during our Friends Club. We also had a breakfast sponsored by Hardees. We continued to have our exercise class at the Bridge Street Recreation Center and our pickleball at the Mill Avenue Recreation Center. We also had a pickleball tournament at the Bridge Street Recreation Center that included senior athletes from Madison, Mayodan, Stoneville, Reidsville and other areas throughout the county. Our quilt guild met again for the first time since 2020 and had a wonderful time.
In total, we had about 540 on our sign-in list at Morgan Road and at least 300 more visits for our senior programs off site, for a total of 840 visits for our programs offered by the Senior Center during March.
Mill Avenue Pool
The Mill Avenue pool will open on Memorial Day.
PLANNING & INSPECTIONS
Payments received from Rockingham County Tax Department for code enforcement fees due to the City of Eden were $3,958.57. Statements were mailed on March 3 to all property owners with a balance due to the City of Eden.
Local Codes and Inspections
Staff is working on updating the code compliance report. Local code complaints have slowed down as they typically do this time of year; however, complaints continue to be addressed in a timely manner and notices sent as needed.
Ongoing Projects for Inspections:
The Purina project is beginning to intensify: 150 new construction documents were reviewed in March with many more anticipated as the project progresses.
The building permit for the upfit and construction of the new pharmacy located at 901 Washington Street (old Wachovia Bank) has begun.
Staff is expecting to receive the construction documents for the new urgent care center, which will be located at 824 S. Van Buren Road Unit F.
Staff is removing signs from the right-of-way daily.
Planning Board-UDO Adjustments:
The Planning Board heard three cases concerning the UDO: (1) a text amendment relating to automobile businesses in Business Central and Neighborhood Mix. This was approved and will go to Council in April; (2) map adjustments involving properties recommended for change to Industrial from Neighborhood; (3) and an amendment to the UDO with identical provisions to the former provisions regarding accessory structures in what was Residential-Suburban now Residential Agriculture that were left out of the UDO. Concerns had been raised that these regulations were too restrictive but state law exempts bonafide farms from any structure size regulations. The Planning Board decided to send this amendment back to City staff.
At the March City Council meeting the consultant for the Comprehensive Plan was chosen, Stewart Inc., which was the same firm that the City used for the UDO. On March 31, City staff had the initial startup meeting with Stewart staff. The Planning Board will serve as the Steering Committee for the plan. The Comprehensive Plan will involve many opportunities to reach out to citizens and stakeholders and will encompass all aspects of city government and life in our community. The Internal Technical Review Committee (iTRC) will have continued involvement as the plan progresses. In a year, the plan should be ready for adoption as the process is required by July 1, 2022.
At the March City Council meeting, Council was presented with the beginnings of a restoration of several programs that oversee maintenance of grounds and structures within our planning jurisdiction. More on this program will be presented as the new fiscal year begins.
Local Landmark Report
Staff is working on a local landmark report for Ray Commons (John B. Ray/Central Hotel building).
Grants Under Management
The Environmental Review has been completed and its record was posted on the City’s website and advertised in the Rockingham Now. It is available for review at City Hall. The comment period for the record has ended and the report has been sent to the Department of Commerce with a Request for Release of Funds for this grant.
COVID-19 CDBG Assistance to Low and Moderate Income Citizens Grant
Staff had its startup meeting with Dennis Branch, who will be the City’s Department of Commerce representative. We hope to begin helping people within the next month.
NCDOT – Stadium Drive Sidewalk
This project was sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic, as were so many others. A joint meeting with NCDOT, City staff and Wetherill Engineering took place in March to finalize the plans and move toward a construction date. A list of property owners have been given to the City Attorney.
The Planning Board serves as the Steering Committee for the Pedestrian Plan. Information was provided by the consulting firm and a public forum was open for citizen input but no citizens attended. Staff did have a survey that was available and would remain open for two more weeks.
Urgent Repair Grant
Staff expects to hear if the City will receive funding for this grant in April. If funded, this grant will be available to property owners citywide.
Local Codes Administrator/GIS Analyst Debra Madison is now the Secretary of the Safety & Loss Control Committee. She has been gathering information from other municipalities to assist the City’s committee in updating our current manual.
PD command and supervisory staff will be conducting interviews for the two vacant detective positions and the vacant K-9 officer position assigned to patrol.
Eden officers will begin the annual spring in-service training. The training consists of mandatory firearms training and qualifications, bloodborne pathogens training, HAZMAT training and fire extinguisher training.