BY STACIE LETT CAIN
The Statesville City Council approved a request on Monday to rezone land at the intersection of West Front Street and Miller Avenue, clearing the way for a new Dollar General store.
The 10,640-square-foot store will be about 15 percent larger than most existing Dollar General stores.
“These stores are built with larger aisles and expanded coolers allowing for more fresh produce and grocery items that are not carried in all stores,” said Danial Almazan, a representative of Dollar General’s development company, Teramore Development.
Acknowledging the difficulty that of finding fresh food in that neighborhood, Councilmember Doris Allison thanked the retailer for choosing that location for a new store.
“We appreciate Dollar General,” she explained. “We are in a food desert in this area, and you are providing things to our ward, to our community that we can’t get now.”
The 6-2 vote to approve the rezoning request followed discussion about exterior materials required for the new store. Allison and Councilmember Frederick Foster vote against the motion to approve the first reading of the rezoning request.
“I don’t think it is right to require this company who is coming in to this area and building this store to look a certain way,” Allison said. “I think we need to approve this without making them do it the way we want them to just because we want them to.”
Mayor Costi Kutteh had asked Almazan if it was possible to make the new Dollar General look like the one that company operates on Shelton Avenue.
“We get a lot of compliments on that one and with them being relatively close it would be nice if we could have them look the same,” he explained.
And even though Almazon said that would be possible, Allison and Foster thought that was asking too much.
“These are first steps to a much need revitalization for this area,” Councilmember John Staford said. “I think this is a very good thing to happen for the city.”
In other business:
♦ Mayor Kutteh announced that Nancy Davis, the city’s public affairs director, is retiring this month.
Davis, who has been employed by the city in some capacity since 1988, has been an integral part of city staff, acting as what Kutteh calls the “glue that held this city together.”
“I don’t mean to offend Ron Smith but Nancy has been, in some ways, the city manager for many of us for many years,” Kutteh quipped. “As much as we will all miss her contributions to the city, we wish her well and hope she enjoys all of the time she will get to spend with her grandchildren.”
Davis, who was not present at Monday’s meeting, received a standing ovation from those in attendance.
♦ The mayor also announced that the Statesville Regional Airport had received a state appropriation to allow the airport to update its terminal.
“We are one of four general aviation airports to receive this money, and we will be receiving $6.7 million,” Kutteh said. “We have grown and expanded as an airport and the one thing we routinely hear is the deficiency of our terminal. This money will help to change that.”
Kutteh said planning for terminal upgrade is already underway.