Lansing board discusses Creeper Trail plans

Wil Petty Staff Writer

January 16, 2014

In the monthly meeting of the Lansing Board of Alderman on Monday, Jan. 13, the board was updated on the Greater Lansing Area Development project involving the Lansing Creeper Trail, which was recently award a $500,000 state grant.

“The state will come in and do their own appraisal,” said Ann Rose, chairperson of the GLAD board. “There will be no discussion of monies until then.”

The grant was approved by the state in late 2013. So far, no paperwork has been presented to Lansing or the county yet.

North Carolina will provide 50 percent of the funding for the project, while the Town of Lansing will have to provide the other 50 percent.

Rose said that property owners of the land near the park had been in talks with GLAD members about different options of having Lansing buy the land.

“We still need to do our share of raising the funds to get the park going,” Rose said.

In a Dec. 13 Jefferson Post interview, Rose said the town was planning to raise around $500,000 for the project.

Plans from the grant include adding 30 primitive campsites to the park, using existing structures to make a second stage for the town’s Ola Belle Reed festival and having three floating water wheels on Big Horse Creek, which will generate electricity to be sold back to Blue Ridge Energy.

The park’s existing walking trails will be extended by three-quarters of a mile and the addition of a one acre dog park and mountain bike trails.

Right now, GLAD is in the process of getting proposals to present to the Board. The town will then decide who to contract for the construction.

Alderman Mauvine Shepard asked for clarification about plans.

“So nothing really is going to happen until the state comes and does the appraisal,” she said.

“The state will do the appraisal with their own appraisal person, and the state will give us 50 percent (of the appraised total),” Rose said. “We won’t know anything about the numbers until the state appraises it.”

Rose also said the 50/50 split of costs between the state and town applies not only to buying the land, but all aspects of the project.

The grant money comes from the state’s parks and recreation trust fund. Mayor George Rembert asked about the timing of the project and how long it the town has to complete it.

Rose said the town has two years to raise their part of the money and three years to complete the project.

The board and Rose discussed planning a meeting between the Board of Aldermen and the GLAD board to discuss ways to come up with the money required to complete the project.

Rose said she would like to have the meeting as soon as February, if the weather permits.

“We need to talk about it and see what’s best for everybody involved,” Rose said.

In other action taken by the board:

• Aldermen Michelle Slaton, Dylan Lightfoot, Mauvine Shepard and Jack Brown took the oath of office, following the November elections.

• Approved converting two CDs totaling $50,000 and taking an additional $50,000 from the town’s checking account for an annuity for Lifestore Bank.

• Discussed election costs which totaled $1,414.75 from the Board of Elections to the Town of Lansing. Those costs included: $651.57 for coding, $89.65 for ballot printing, $127.42 for advertising, $481.11 for poll workers, $105 for board member meetings and $30 for filing fees.