Lansing acquires land for park expansion

Wil Petty

March 17, 2014

Following an executive session on Monday, March 10, discussing the town’s park expansion plan, the Lansing Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to proceed with the project beginning with the acquisition of an approximately 34-acre parcel on the west bank of Big Horse Creek.

Owned by Jeff Thompson, the $210,000 hill-top property overlooks the town and will be purchased and developed with a $500,000 matching funds PARTF (Parks and Recreation Trust Fund) grant from the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.

Planned infrastructure for the expansion of the Lansing Creeper Trail Park includes primitive camping sites, a disc golf course, a bathhouse, parking for 60 cars and an extension of the park’s existing walking and biking trail.

During the regularly scheduled meeting of the Lansing Aldermen, the focus of discussion was on funding for the Lansing Park and the Greater Lansing Area Development (GLAD).

In February’s meeting, the Board decided to put GLAD in charge of the project, which would establish a salary for Ann Rose, Project Manager of the nonprofit organization, at a maximum of $1,000 per month.

“We just need to discuss it, get the pros and cons and see what our feelings are,” Lansing mayor George Rembert said.

Rembert said GLAD’s concern is making sure the Lansing Board of Aldermen are behind the project, but expressed with the town’s limited budget, $1,000 a month is “significant.”

Alderman Brenda Reeves also expressed concern, mentioning the towns water and sewer as a future significant cost.

“We have to consider that our water and sewer system is over 20 years old,” Reeves said. “We don’t know at what points we are going to have problems there. We have got to think about this.”

Alderman Mauvine Shepard spoke of people in the community confronting her about the project costs.

“I cannot see the town affording something like this with the needs we have,” she said.

Rembert also proposed that the town needs to look into seeing what work can be done by members of the town government.

“We need to see what portion of the work can be done by the administration of the town,” he said.

Rose responded, saying part of her job is to get members of the community to help and the grant money can only go to the park itself.

“This is more than a one person job,” she said.

Alderman Dylan Lightfoot said this would be an ongoing discussion for future meetings.

“This is going to take a couple of years and there will be a lot of discussions,” he said.

The Board decided to table the funding of GLAD until a special meeting, where they can receive more information and have Beth Johnson, the finance officer of Lansing in attendance.

There will be a special meeting of the Lansing Board of Aldermen on Monday, March 24, to further discuss the PARTF grant.

In other action taken by the Board:

• Approved minutes from February’s meeting.

• The board was updated on finding space within the town limits for two new emergency vehicles acquired by the Lansing Volunteer Fire Department.

• The Board set up a public meeting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, to discuss the establishment of a private club at the Old Lansing School.

• In attendance were: Mayor George Rembert and Aldermen Jack Brown, Dylan Lightfoot, Mauvine Shepard, Brenda Reeves and Michele Slaton. The next regularly scheduled meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 14.

Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.