The Carthage Board of Commissioners on Monday voted to close part of Dowd Road for a planned expansion of the Moore County Courthouse, ending a year of sometimes contentious negotiations between county and town officials.
The board first weighed in on the county’s proposal to shutter a block of Dowd Road in May 2019. At the time, town commissioners worried the project would snarl traffic and cause parking issues.
Multiple meetings were later held between town officials and the Moore County Board of Commissioners, which has been under increasing pressure from the state judicial system to replace or expand the current courts facility. Boards for both the town and county finally reached an agreement in March.
Under the formal agreement, the county must reroute a section of Dowd Road by constructing an access road behind the Rick Rhyne Public Safety Center. The county must also use the property surrounding the defunct Fred’s department store “exclusively for free public parking” for the next 10 years.
The town and county will “jointly develop, install and pay” for wayfaring signs in Carthage, according to the agreement. The county will also work with the town to “install crosswalks and signs to protect the safety of pedestrians.”
The resolution passed by the Carthage Board of Commissioners on Monday includes a provision that allows the town to retain a 20 foot-wide utility easement on Dowd Road. Following a public hearing in which no one signed up to speak, the commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the road closure.
The dissenting vote was cast by Commissioner Dustin Smith, who had previously stated his opposition to the project.