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Surry County News

Read about new business, events and news that effects life and commerce in the western Piedmont Triad.

Spencer’s redevelopment pact approved

The proposed transformation of former Spencer’s industrial property into a boutique hotel has moved closer to reality through action by city officials — setting the stage for another upcoming vote committing millions in public funds for the venture.

A key move toward that end occurred Thursday night when the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners gave unanimous approval for a redevelopment agreement between the municipality and a private group known as Sunhouse Hospitality, LLC.

“I think this could be a really important step in Mount Airy’s future,” Commissioner Tom Koch said of the pact to develop the hotel in the Sparger Building, a large multi-storied structure fronting Willow Street.

Sunhouse, a business in Cary which now owns and manages Hampton Inn by Hilton on Rockford Street, also is seeking to locate a convention-type market center including meeting space in an old dye house portion of the Cube Building nearby. Sunhouse plans to use historic tax credits available for refurbishing dormant textile mill properties.

The Cary firm has an option to buy former Spencer’s sites now owned by the municipality for $350,000 and will invest at least $10 million in the redevelopment effort, based on its deal with Mount Airy. The agreement calls for the hotel to contain 70 to 80 rooms and operate under a national brand.

Thursday night’s vote approving the arrangement between the city government and Sunhouse did not include appropriating any taxpayer funds — which Mayor Ron Niland said after the meeting will occur during an upcoming council session.

“This will be the actual budget with the actual figures,” Niland said of funding Mount Airy informally has agreed to provide for infrastructure needs at the project site the municipality has owned since 2014, where industrial production ceased in 2007.

Those costs — including an estimated $1.63 million to provide parking spaces there — have been put in the $3 million range altogether, with a public park, lighting and landscaping also proposed.

Niland said the exact figure is unknown at this point. “The (city) staff is fine-tuning numbers,” the mayor explained.

Surry County officials have committed $1.5 million toward the infrastructure needs for the project expected to produce at least $1.6 million in property tax revenues during just the first six years after the hotel/market center emerges.

The mayor said the upcoming vote will formalize what already has been discussed for months with no surprises anticipated once the costs are pinpointed.

Water line, asbestos

Another action was taken Thursday night to aid the project along with the redevelopment agreement decision.

This included a vote to replace a 400-foot municipal water line along Willow Street from Oak to Franklin streets near the Sparger Building.

Although this is projected to cost $140,000 to $170,000, Niland said $180,000 in state funding appropriated for recently completed water-sewer work in the area of Merritt and Maple streets “coincidentally” was leftover.

That surplus money must be used or returned to the state, added Niland, whose idea for delegating it for the line replacement was embraced by the commissioners.

They voted unanimously to authorize Public Works Director Mitch Williams and City Manager Barbara Jones to proceed with soliciting bids from contractors.

“I think they’ve got permission from the state,” Williams said Friday concerning plans by Mount Airy leaders to reallocate the money.

The issue of asbestos in the former Spencer’s structures eyed for the redevelopment project at hand also resurfaced during Thursday night’s meeting. The timely removal of that cancer-causing substance once routinely used in the construction industry is deemed a “critical” first step in the hotel/market center plans.

Niland reminded that the commissioners had set aside $50,000 for such preliminary tasks through project ordinance and budget ordinance amendments OK’d in May.

“The asbestos that was found in the buildings was a little more than we had hoped for,” said the mayor, who mentioned that the private developers “kicked in” extra money for its removal. This will require no additional municipal funding for that purpose, Niland pledged.

City officials pleased

All in all, Mount Airy’s commissioners seem happy about the present state of the Spencer’s reuse effort that has been plagued by various pitfalls over the years.

They highly praised the volunteer assistance from persons associated with the group Mount Airy Downtown Inc. for helping the hotel/market center effort reach this point, namely Bryan Grote and Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison.

Their work included mounting an RFP (request for proposal) process which led to the interest by Sunhouse Hospitality during a pandemic period when such growth plans largely were stifled.

Commissioner Koch delivered a heartfelt thanks to those who moved the project along, with Commissioner Marie Wood offering similar comments.

“I don’t know that we can thank them enough,” Wood said of the Mount Airy Downtown contingent. “I’m really excited about getting approval for the development agreement.”

 

Wayne Farms parent buying Sanderson, will combine firms

Wayne Farms parent company Continental Grain is part of a joint venture buying the larger Sanderson Farms, with plans to combine Sanderson with Wayne Farms. The new firm will be a privately held company with poultry processing plants and prepared foods plants in North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Wayne Farms spokesperson Frank Singleton said the new deal will have no effect on the firm’s Dobson operations. He said the company has about 1,000 employees there, along with 130 growers.

The deal is a joint venture of Continental Grain and Cargill, a private firm that is one of the world’s largest food companies, with more than 155,000 employees in 70 countries, according to Associated Press reports.

The deal, valued at more than $4.5 billion, will pay Sanderson Farms stockholders $203 per share, 30% higher than the stock was trading on June 14, when the world of the potential deal first became public.

Wayne Farms has more than 9,000 employees at present, while the Laurel, Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms has 17,000 employees and 12 plants. The new firm will be headed by Wayne Farms CEO Clint Rivers.

“Since my grandfather founded Sanderson Farms 75 years ago, our many significant achievements have been driven by our commitment to providing the very best chicken products in a profitable manner that benefits each of the constituents who contribute to our success,” said Joe Sanderson, chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms. “This transaction is the culmination of that commitment, as it delivers a significant value to our stockholders, reflecting the dedication of our team, and our best-in-class assets, quality products, efficient and sustainable operations, and respected brand.

“We are very happy to partner with Cargill with whom we have had a decades-long relationship between two family-owned companies. Sanderson Farms’ operations, best-in-class assets, and valuable brand have underscored their success, and we have the highest respect for Joe Sanderson, and the business and team he has built as the third-generation CEO,” said Paul Fribourg, chairman, and CEO of Continental Grain. “Wayne Farms has been one of the most important and successful parts of Continental Grain for almost 60 years, so bringing together two great partners with two great poultry companies will ensure good things for our customers, our grower partners, and our employees.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early 2022, and will be subject to regulatory and Sanderson Farms stockholder approval. Once the deal closes, the firm will be private, and Sanderson Farms will no longer appear on the NASDAQ.

First Community Bank earnings up sharply

BLUEFIELD, VA – First Community Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCBC) reported net income for the quarter ending June 30 grew by nearly two-thirds over the same quarter a year ago, and the year-to-date earnings grew even more.

The company reported net income of $13.40 million, or 76 cents per common share, for the quarter, which was an increase of 30 cents per share, or 65.22%, over the same quarter of 2020. Net income for the six months ending June 30 was $28.01 million, or $1.59 per share, which represents a 76.67% increase in diluted earnings per share compared to the same period of 2020, when that figure stood at 90 cents per share.

The company also declared a quarterly cash dividend to common shareholders of 27 cents per common share, an increase of 8% over last quarter and last year. The quarterly dividend is payable to common shareholders of record on August 9 and is expected to be paid on or about August 23. This marks the 36th consecutive year of regular dividends to common shareholders.

Highlights

– Net income for the quarter increased $5.17 million to $13.40 million compared to the same quarter of 2020. The increase includes the reversal of $2.23 million in allowance for credit losses for the second quarter of 2021. Net income for the six-month period increased $11.90 million compared to the same period of 2020. Similarly, for the six month period, a reversal of $6.23 million in the allowance for credit losses accounts for a large part of the increase in income over the same period in 2020. The decreases in credit loss provisioning are primarily due to significantly improved economic forecasts and GDP growth in the current year, and prior year provisioning driven by the pandemic.

– During the second quarter, the company repurchased 261,600 common shares for $7.98 million. Year-to-date the company has repurchased 449,300 common shares for $12.96 million.

– Annualized return on average equity increased to 12.55% compared to 7.97% from the same quarter of 2020, and return on average equity for the first six months increased to 13.24% compared to 7.73% from the same period last year.

– Annualized return on average assets increased to 1.70% compared to 1.15% from the same quarter of 2020, while year-to-date return on average assets increased to 1.82% compared to 1.15% for the same period of 2020.

– Non-interest income for the second quarter of 2021 increased $1.88 million, or 27.25%, compared to the prior year. Year-to-date non-interest income increased 13.17% to $16.37 million compared to last year. Both increases are largely attributable to the more vibrant state of local economies with increased customer activity compared with last spring.

– As of June 30 total COVID-19 loan deferrals stood at $4.02 million, down significantly from the peak of $436.11 million on June 30, 2020.

– The SBA had forgiven $48.27 million, or 79.15%, of the company’s first round Paycheck Protection Program loan balances through June 30. Current PPP loan balances at June 30 which include second-round originations, were $41.63 million.

C-Suite Awards 2021: Jeffrey Eidson of G&B Energy

Jeffrey Eidson, president, G&B Energy

Why selected: When Eidson took over as president of G&B Energy in 1991, the business had one Triad location and 20 employees. G&B now has three Triad offices with 65 employees and serves more than 13,500 Triad customers. Eidson also serves as town commissioner in Elkin, and on the board of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership.

If you could have an alternate title, what would it be? Facilitator and empowerer. My primary goal is to empower employees and give them the tools and confidence to demonstrate their talents and grow in their jobs.

How long have you worked at your company? 40 years, including part-time work in summers as a teenager helping in the service and installation department.

Where were you born? Jacksonville, Florida

What is the biggest challenge you face right now as a leader in your company? Maintaining company culture and employee engagement as small family owned business as we have grown to nine locations and over 125 employees. Continuing to foster personal relationships with employees and their families to promote long-term employee commitment, allowing us to deliver thee high level of customer service our customers have come to expect.

What did you learn about your colleagues through Covid? About your community? That they are committed to delivering a high level of customer service even in the face of serious challenges. They showed up for work every day and continued to meet and exceed customer expectations while demonstrating a high degree of care for the health and safety of our customers and their fellow employees. Our community rallied around those most impacted by the pandemic starting an effort, Yadkin Valley Strong, as a partnership between the Yadkin Valley Chamber, The Yadkin Valley United Fund and Explore Elkin, to raise funds to provide food assistance to needy families. Yadkin Valley Strong raised and distributed over $100,000 during the early months of the pandemic.

How do you measure success? By the success and job satisfaction of our employees.

Share one thing about yourself that would surprise people? That I continue to maintain my CPA certification.

What are your hobbies? Golf, travel, snow skiing, fly fishing, hiking.

 

Duke Energy begins construction on largest solar plant in Surry County, N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.June 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Duke Energy continues to expand solar power in North Carolina with construction starting on its 22.6-megawatt (MW) Stony Knoll Solar power plant. Once completed, it will be the largest solar plant in Surry County. The project will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions.* The project was selected as part of the competitive bidding process established by 2017’s solar legislation in North Carolina. The solar plant will contain 76,600 Trina Solar bifacial modules with single-axis tracking. The plant will be located on 195 acres in Dobson, N.C. – near Rockford Road. The facility will power the equivalent of 5,000 homes. It is targeting commercial operation by the end of 2021. “Duke Energy is bringing more carbon-free, renewable energy to customers in North Carolina. We’re pleased to add Surry County to our ever-growing list of solar locations as we significantly reduce carbon emissions on our path to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. Under North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy, proposed projects must be built where there is a need for energy capacity on the Duke Energy system in North Carolina or South Carolina. The bids can come from any company, including Duke Energy, and can be in the form of power purchase agreements (PPA), utility self-developed facilities, or utility asset acquisitions. “We’re pleased to continue to build upon the renewable energy resources in the state. The Stony Knoll solar project marks the third facility that we have announced in North Carolina this year and demonstrates our continued commitment to increasing clean energy generation in the state,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. During peak construction, Stony Knoll Solar will create about 70 jobs. Along with indirect economic benefits that accompany solar project development, such as increased local spending in the service and construction industries, Stony Knoll Solar will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing local tax revenues to the county and local school districts, as well as meaningful payments to the participating landowners. Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions also supports the communities where its facilities and team members are based through the efforts of the Duke Energy Foundation. In January, the company awarded $10,000 to Copeland Elementary School in Dobson to fund the purchase of Chromebooks for students. The facility’s design, procurement of inverters, the balance of plant systems, and construction of the project will be performed by Swinerton Renewable Energy. The energy generated by Stony Knoll will be delivered through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas.

A leader in renewable energy

Duke Energy maintains more than 3,700 MW of solar power on its energy grid in North Carolina, which could power about 700,000 homes and businesses at peak output. The company also operates more than 40 solar facilities in the state. North Carolina currently ranks No. 3 in the nation for overall solar power. With nuclear, hydro, and renewable energy, more than half of North Carolina’s energy mix is carbon-free. As one of the nation’s top renewable energy providers, Duke Energy plans to double its enterprisewide renewable portfolio from 8 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to 16 GW by the end of 2025.

Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions

Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions is a nonregulated commercial brand of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) – a Fortune 150 company and one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. – headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions is a leader in sustainable energy, helping large enterprises reduce power costs, lower emissions, and increase resiliency. The team provides wind, solar, resilient backup power, and managed energy services to over 1,000 projects across the U.S., with a total electric capacity of more than 5,100 megawatts of nonregulated renewable energy. Visit Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions and follow on LinkedIn and YouTube for more information. Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to operate or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos, and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics, and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements.

This document includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by terms and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimate,” “expect,” “continue,” “should,” “could,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “will,” “potential,” “forecast,” “target,” “outlook,” “guidance,” and similar expressions. Various factors may cause actual results to be materially different than the suggested outcomes within forward-looking statements; accordingly, there is no assurance that such results will be realized. These risks and uncertainties are identified and discussed in Duke Energy’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and available at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. In light of these risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, the events described in the forward-looking statements might not occur or might occur to a different extent or at a different time than Duke Energy has described. Duke Energy expressly disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

* Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions is a non-regulated commercial brand of Duke Energy Corporation, which includes the following subsidiaries of Duke Energy Corporation that are registered to transact business in various states and may be branded as Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions for marketing purposes: Duke Energy One, Inc.; Duke Energy Commercial Enterprises, Inc.; Duke Energy Renewables, Inc.; Duke Energy Renewables Commercial, LLC; Duke Energy Renewable Services, LLC.; Duke Energy Renewables Storage, LLC; Duke Energy Renewables Wind, LLC.; Duke Energy Renewables Solar, LLC.; and REC Solar Commercial Corporation.

Altec to add 100 jobs

For the second time since buying a division of Pike Industries in 2016, Altec Industries Inc. has announced expansion plans at its Mount Airy location.

This time, the firm says it will add 100 jobs to its existing operation, as well as invest more than $9 million in both the present facility and a new 100,000 square-foot building it will construct.

The expansion comes about after the company and the Surry County Board of Commissioners put together an agreement that will use state grant funds to help with the extension of a natural gas line to the current Altec site just outside of Mount Airy.

The grant was awarded from the North Carolina Governor’s Office and the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Surry County was a recipient of an Industrial Development Fund, Utility Account Grant in the amount of $540,000, and Surry County will contribute $180,000 to help match the grant funds.

This grant will help construct a natural gas line to the current Altec facility where the company will build an additional 100,000 square foot structure to aid in its distribution and manufacturing processes, company officials said.

“Surry County…is excited about this project and is happy to provide incentive funding to make this a reality,” said Mark Marion, chairman of the board of commissioners. “The board of commissioners would like to thank Altec for expanding operations, Frontier Natural Gas for extending the natural gas line, and the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, the state, and all other partners who made this possible.

”Surry County citizens need good jobs and this project will add more to our economy, as well as bring natural gas to an area that could really benefit from its addition. We have a real opportunity here to take advantage of natural gas, which can help grow and expand our economy, increasing jobs in Surry County and providing more income to our hard-working citizens,” he said.

“Altec is grateful to be a part of the continued growth in Surry County and we appreciate the outstanding partnership that has been developed with the leaders in this community,” said Ben Griffin, Altex general manager. “We receive tremendous support from the local economic development group, county leadership, and our state representatives. In particular, we’d like to extend our appreciation to the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, the Surry County Commissioners, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina for granting the funding to bring the much-needed natural gas line to Altec’s Mount Airy facility. It is a critical element to our growth plans for the plant and will allow us to continue to create new job opportunities within the community.”

This is the second significant expansion Altec has undertaken over the past five years. In 2016 the company bought a division of Pike Electric, establishing a presence in the community. Less than a year-and-a-half later, the firm announced its first expansion, adding 50 jobs with a total investment of more than $5 million, coming from a combination of state and local grants and company resources.

“We are very excited that Altec is growing its presence here in Surry County,” said Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership. “We have worked with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Surry County, Frontier Natural Gas, and others to help them expand and create more good-paying jobs.

Altec’s Griffin said as part of the expansion, the firm is seeking qualified applicants for numerous positions including assemblers, welders, material handlers, CDL drivers, engineers, and technical salesmen.

BSA Trucking holds grand opening

BSA Trucking holds grand opening

BSA Trucking held a grand opening for its new facility in Dobson last week.

The firm, owned by Randy and Sandra Davis, is named for their three children — Blake, Scottie, and Amy, all of whom work at the company.

The couple opened the firm in 1998 with a single truck, and now they’ve grown to 31 trucks and 60 drivers, making deliveries from coast to coast.

The ribbon-cutting was sponsored by the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce and included brief addresses by chamber President David Steelman, Dobson Mayor Ricky Draughn, and local minister Austin Caviness.

Sign company expanding in Mount Airy

Sign company expanding in Mount Airy

Roughly two-and-a-half years ago, in the autumn of 2018, Kieffer | Starlite sign company, with facilities in both Denton, Texas and Sheboygan, Wisconsin, purchased Mount Airy’s Burton Signworks.

Tuesday, the company announced it would be expanding the Mount Airy location, and adding jobs to its local operation.

The firm will actually be consolidating two local facilities, one at 510 Riverside Drive and a second at 609 Junction Street, into one single operation at the Junction Street location, according to Brad Davis, purchasing agent with the company. As part of that move, the company will be expanding, building a 21,000-square-foot addition to the already existing 80,000 square feet at the Junction Street location.

“Two new loading docks are included in the construction, and the layout is redesigned to accommodate channel letter and thermoforming equipment that will be moved to the main facility,” the company said in a written statement about the expansion.

“We are grateful to have the support from our community leaders,” said Roger Miller, director of manufacturing for the Mount Airy plant. “Their commitment to our success is making our vision a reality much sooner than anticipated.”

The firm held what it is calling an “internal groundbreaking” for employees and company officials last week, with the intention of completing the expansion by the end of August.

In addition to housing all of the company’s local manufacturing, Miller said the expanded facility “…will result in a safer and more efficient work environment.”

The firm has 140 employees at present, with 35 of those in Mount Airy. Davis said Kieffer | Starlite has 10 job openings at present, and hopes, after the expansion is complete, to have a workforce of 50 in the Mount Airy facility.

“We have several positions open now and will continue to add more after the expansion,” Miller explained. “Our company offers competitive pay, with benefits and many other monetary incentives.”

He said that “the sign industry offers an exciting career path as there are multiple cross-training opportunities. With custom sign work, there is always a new challenge.”

“We have a great team that works together to take a product from concept to watching it ship out to the customer. Our team of hard workers focus on Kieffer Starlite being best in class when it comes to manufacturing and enjoys being a part of delivering quality products to our customers across the U.S.”

Kieffer | Starlite had its beginnings more than six decades ago when Starlite Signs was founded in Denton Texas in 1956. Three years later, in Sheboygan, Kieffer & Co. was founded, according to the firm’s website.

The two companies operated largely independently of one another, maintaining a successful presence in the industry until November 2016, when the two merged and branded the new company as Kieffer | Starlite.

“The result was increased manufacturing capabilities and ability to provide best-in-class sign solutions nationwide and globally,” the company said.

In what the company refers to as its Southeast Expansion, Kieffer | Starlite bought the Mount Airy-based Burton Signworks in the fall of 2018, acquiring the 35-year-old firm and its 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

Now, the company has announced the expansion of the Mount Airy location, along with the job openings. For those wishing to know more about the job opportunities, or about the firm in general, visit https://kiefferstarlite.com/careers/

Hospital parking deck, building plans revealed

Hospital parking deck, building plans revealed

Northern Regional Hospital has unveiled plans for major projects costing an estimated $11 million, including the addition of a medical office building, parking deck and other facilities.

This emerged during a presentation to the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners at a meeting Thursday afternoon, when city officials were asked to close a section of Worth Street near the hospital as a safety measure linked to those plans.

The changes in store for the Rockford Street facility — which opened in 1957 — represent 16 months of study and reflect “where we are going for the next 20-plus years,” hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Lumsden stated.

“We are very excited today to be able to present this plan to you,” Lumsden said of the overall campus site study containing various elements, which meets one of his goals when becoming CEO nearly three years ago: growing the hospital.

Mayor Pro Tem Ron Niland mentioned Thursday that it is now the largest employer in Surry County with more than 1,000 people on the payroll.

The project announcement came in the wake of action last month by the commissioners to rezone five separate parcels of hospital land on South South and Worth streets for Medical Business use.

One highlight of the master campus plan — to be done in phases — is the construction of a 25,000-square-foot medical office building on South Street just west of the main hospital site.

It also the costliest, with a price tag of $8.25 million. The construction is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed in the spring of 2023.

“We are moving very quickly to secure pricing for all phases of the project,” said Lumsden, since construction costs are increasing.

Though not included on the list of items presently pursued, Lumsden said that at some point another 40,000-square-foot building is to be constructed to accommodate specialty services.

Parking measures

While more office space is an objective of the expansion effort, Lumsden said safe and convenient accessibility to Northern Regional Hospital is another — “which is a challenge for some of our patients and employees.”

Toward that end, a parking deck costing $2 million will be built on property near the corner or Rockford and South streets above a portion of an existing surgery center parking lot.

The one-level deck is to contain 70 spaces. Work on it is slated to start in February or March of 2022 and be finished in December of that year.

Another parking addition will involve the development of an on-grade lot south of the surgery center, providing another 50 spaces. Work on this phase is to begin in July or August and be completed in December.

About 375 new parking spaces will result from the different projects, according to Lumsden, who said this is “really needed.”

Worth Street closure

Another facet of Northern Regional Hospital’s growth package is focused on the redevelopment later this year of its north campus along Worth Street, where a helicopter landing and takeoff site is located.

“Most important is it will create a safer environment for our employees and patients and visitors,” Lumsden said.

In conjunction with the north campus phase, Lumsden asked Mount Airy leaders Thursday afternoon to close the portion of Worth Street between the intersections of Rockford and South streets.

He said safety is the prime motivation there, adding that the hospital would have sought closure even without the redevelopment plans. “Because it’s a dangerous situation.”

The present setup includes a painted crosswalk on the pavement and signage directing motorists to stop as people cross back and forth between a parking area and the hospital building.

“But the sign gets run over and has to be replaced,” the hospital CEO said.

“The vast majority of vehicles that use Worth Street … exceed the speed limit,” Lumsden added. One driver passing through was clocked at 51 mph.

This is coupled with the findings of a recent one-week survey showing that about 750 crossings of Worth Street occur per day, including ill or injured persons ferried across it to medical helicopters for trauma center transports.

“That’s not good — that’s not safe,” the hospital official commented.

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners took the first step toward the Worth Street closure Thursday afternoon by giving unanimous approval to a resolution of intent for that and setting a required public hearing for next month on the proposal.

City Planning Director Andy Goodall, who outlined this process Thursday, said the closing of the section of the street in question probably will draw little or no opposition since the hospital owns most of the property abutting the roadway.

Because the street is on the state highway system, the closure must be approved by the N.C. Department of Transportation along with municipal officials. That also is not viewed as an obstacle, based on discussion at the meeting.

Young Entrepreneur competition shows off businesses

Surry Early College High School held is school-level Young Entrepreneur of Surry County competition recently. The event, for Surry County students, allows young entrepreneurs to compete for prize money that will be invested in their business projects.

Surry Early College had two students who competed at the school-level competition. First place winner, Nathan Turner, won $500 to invest in his wreath-making business, Nathan’s Creations. Nathan will also move on to compete in the countywide competition in May.

Isaac Libbert finished second in the competition and won $250 to invest in his business, Access Technology, which is a tech support company geared towards helping senior citizens manage and maintain their computers.

“The resources and assistance provided by the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, the City of Mount Airy, the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and Surry Community College were essential to the success of our start up venture.”
Andrew Clabough

President, Willow Tex

Contact Us

Surry County Economic Development Partnership, Inc.
1218 State St.,
Mt. Airy NC 27030
PO BOX 7128
336.401.9900

Contact Us

Surry County Economic Development Partnership Inc. 1218 State St., Mt. Airy NC 27030
PO BOX 7128
336.401.9900

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