Commissioners to upgrade park, litter honorees recognized
Murphy – The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners voted Monday night to invest as much as $57,000 to improve the restrooms and playground in Konehete Park.
Commissioner Hippie Westmoreland recently toured the area after several complaints about portable toilets being the only available facilities near the playground.
“I did not think it was very sanitary, and our kids deserve better,” Westmoreland said.
The board approved a bid from Barnett Construction for $27,806 to build new restrooms, which will include heat so they can be left open year-round.
The board also approved spending up to $30,000 to follow an improvement plan laid out by Recreation Director Pee Wee Davis to add new equipment to the playground, including a handicapped-accessible swing.
Westmoreland said Tuesday the board would consider upgrades to the bathrooms near the baseball fields in the next budget cycle.
In other business at Monday’s meeting:
* Commissioners honored a bevy of individuals and organizations helping battle the litter problem in Cherokee County. A letter read by County Manager Randy Wiggins recognized dozens of contributors, including the top Adopt-A-Highway group for the year, Rozelle’s Girls: The Chastains.
Other groups who recently have adopted a stretch of highway include Lowe’s, the Murphy Police Department and Andrews Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6720. Below is an excerpt from the county letter entered into the record that listed all the honorees.
In the category of NCDOT Adopt-A-Highway groups that are on record with the NCDOT Adopt-A-Highway as cleaning their sections of highway the required four times per year, we recognize the efforts of “Rozelle’s Girls: The Chastains”.
In the category of new NCDOT Adopt-A-Highway groups for 2016, we recognize the efforts of “Lowes Home Improvement, Police Department-Murphy NC, VFW Post 6720-Andrews, NC.
In the category of non-Adopt-A-highway groups referred to as the “Road Warriors” that are known to have cleaned their sections of highway up to four times per year as determined by the North Carolina Litter-Free Coalition, we recognize the efforts of “Sue Fredrich, Kerry Archer, Jeff Smith, Waffle King, Lewis and Karen Jones, Dr. Jeana Conley-Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools, Principle Tiffany Clapsaddle, Gail Hubbard and students-Murphy Middle School, Susan Steiner (teacher)-Murphy High School (Campus Beautification Club & random students), Principal Thomas Graham-Murphy High School, the Learning Center, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department and inmates, Kathy Vetten-Exit Realty, Shawn Davis and Walmart employees, Tim Moon, Gary and Karen Chamberlain.
In the category of those that have served as the messengers for the North Carolina Litter-Free Coalition efforts, we recognize the efforts of Digital Creations USA, Ricks Rental, Waffle King, Dr. Dan Eichenbaum, Frankie Beal, Winfield Clonts, Jon and Tammy Fleischer, Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, Cherokee Scout, Andrews Journal, Clay County Progress, Graham Star, Appalachian Messenger, Rhonda Crowder, WKRK, Local TV 4, Cherokee County Manager Randy Wiggins, Cherokee County Commissioners (Dr. Dan Eichenbaum, Roy Dickey, Gary Westmoreland Cal Stiles, CB McKinnon) and Assistant County Manager Maria Hass.
In the category of NCDOT employees we recognize Kim Wheeless (Office of Beautification), Wes Grindstaff, Rhonda Trantham, Adam Dockery and Andy Russell.
In the category of those that have provided litter-lifting products to the North Carolina Litter-Free Coalition volunteers, we recognize Lowes Home Improvement-Murphy, NC, Home Depot-Knoxville TN, Home Depot-Blairsville,GA, Home Depot-Atlanta, GA, U-line-Pleasant Prairie, WI, Garbo Grabber-Stratford, CT.
In recognition of their special efforts in 2016 by promoting and publishing over 66 stories with reader comments regarding littering, the North Carolina Litter-Free Coalition would like the Cherokee County Commissioners to recognize the CNI newspaper organizations and the following employees: David Brown, Matthew Osborne, Becky Long, Gary Cosair, Kelsey Richardson, Ben Katz and Dwight Otwell for their efforts. Their efforts made the 2016 efforts of all of those mentioned a success.
* Commissioners passed a resolution supporting legislation that would allow Tri-County Community College to charge in-state tuition to students from counties bordering the school’s service area in Georgia and Tennessee. Those counties would include Fannin, Towns and Union in northern Georgia, along with Blount, Monroe and Polk counties in eastern Tennessee.
“This will double our service area and really help our enrollment,” said Westmoreland, who works at the college. “There are a lot of potential economic benefits of this.”
Commissioner Cal Stiles expressed reservations about more money being spent on additional students using the facilities when the board is still debating Clay and Graham counties over funding contributions. Commissioner C.B. McKinnon said the board was still dedicated to working with those counties to get their funding up to the appropriate levels laid out by the founding charter of the school.
* Commissioners settled on vinyl lettering on two sides of the airport terminal that has been named for Richard Parker at a cost of $245. The board voted 3-2 against a bronze plaque that would have cost at least $1,000.
Stiles was against both motions. He said Parker’s family and friends should raise the money for the lettering, as has been done with people who have had bridges named after them.
* A speed limit change was approved for U.S. 64 West from the intersection with N.C. 60 and the Tennessee line. The limit will be changed from 55 mph to 60 mph, with the still remaining exception during school zone times twice a day near Ranger Elementary/Middle School.
* County budget hearings will be held Thursday and Friday, May 11-12.
* Thursday night’s county “listening session” at 6:30 p.m. gives the public a chance to speak without rebuttal from commissioners. The session is for the public to express their priorities for county spending in the 2017-18 fiscal year.