Forum on Village Plan Called Informative
A plan to expand the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives and enhance the downtown core was greeted with support and some uncertainty at a public forum Wednesday afternoon.
During the forum, architects, designers and supporters of the plan made an hourlong presentation to about 75 residents who gathered at the Fair Barn on Wednesday.
"I think it was very informative," said Jim McChesney. "There were a lot of questions I had that were answered today."
The presentation was "well done and well presented," said Eva Gentile, who added: "I want to go to the area and look at it and see how it'll all work out."
Some attendees said they had concerns about the proposed plan.
"I think there are some issues regarding parking," said Billy Chadwick, who called angled parking dangerous.
The proposed plan includes the expansion of the Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives, a relocation and enhancement of the sand parking lot and a streetscape project to improve traffic flow downtown.
"I think they have great ideas," said Jack Farrell. "I think we have to think through how it is implemented and the possible unintended consequences. Farrell said one unintended consequence is the changes to the sand parking lot that will force folks to walk farther o get to stores and restaurants downtown.
"The consequences of moving parking will cause people to use it less, not more," Farrell said.
'Catalyst for Reinvention'
Others expressed concern over the effect of the plan on the village's National Historic Landmark status.
Pinehurst Mayor Virginia "Ginsey" Fallon and Councilwoman Joan Thurman said they felt the audience offered good feedback during the meeting.
The plan, which was presented at the council's April work session, has been touted by designers as a "catalyst for the reinvention of Pinehurst's town center."
It includes three main parts. The first is the donation of about eight-tenths of an acre of land in the Village Green to the library to expand the building to meet the needs of a growing population.
The second part would convert one end of the current sand parking lot into a green space and then extend the other end of the lot to accommodate more spaces.
The parking area in front of the Old Department Store building at Cherokee Road and Village Green West will be turned into grassy area with angled parking on the outside of the green space. Additional streetscaping also would be done along Chinquapin Road.
The proposed plan would increase parking in the village from about 80 spaces to 122.
Input, Support Sought
The Village Council has expressed support for the project, but has also said it wants input and ultimately support from residents before moving forward.
Wednesday's forum was the first of three scheduled. The next two meetings will be held at Assembly Hall in Village Hall, at 10 a.m. June 7 and at 6 p.m. June 9.
Fallon said she hopes more people will attend the two meetings in June. For those who cannot attend, the proposal is on the village website, www.villageofpinehurst.org.
The National Park Service, which oversees the village's National Historic Landmark status, sent a letter expressing concern over the impact that changes to the Village Green could have on that status. Plan proponents said NPS officials have seen only a rough sketch of the plan, not the entire proposal.
A small delegation from the village is scheduled to got to Atlanta on June 30 to meet with officials from the National Park Service to discuss the proposal.
"We want to go in and say, 'Please help us with this,'" Fallon told the audience. "We're not going to there to fight with them."
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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