BY DEBBIE PAGE

The Troutman Town Council approved a request by Girl Scout Troop 12965 to install bird houses throughout ESC Park and create an orienteering activity for a Silver Award Project. The project is scheduled to be completed by the spring.

The durable cedar bird houses, placed 8 to 10 feet above ground to dissuade vandalism, will be decorated with exterior paint and wood burning techniques for park patrons to enjoy. The houses will be checked twice per year to assess any damage.

The bird houses will be installed along the fitness trail, near the soccer and baseball fields, and dog park as directed by town staff. 

The orienteering activity will give park users a new way to explore the park, using the compass app on cell phones to guide participants to each bird house.

Directions for the activity will be available in the flyer box near the pavilion, along with a QR code to scan to access a website that plots the course to the bird houses.

The Girl Scouts want to install a final decorative box near the Blessing Box at Town Hall, along with a QR code to open a virtual letter from the troop to thank them for participating in the orienteering activity and asking them to bring a contribution to the Blessing Box on their next visit.

The scouts expressed their excitement about the partnership with the Town of Troutman since this park is in their community. They chose this project to encourage children to get outside, find other ways to use the park, and introduce children to basic orienteering skills.

Town council members expressed their support of the well-planned project, voting 5-0 to approve the project.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business:

* Mayor Teross Young, attending via phone, and the Town Council members all expressed their appreciation to Parks and Recreation Director Emily Watson, town staff members and police officers, and parade chair Chuck Gallyon for the successful weekend of holiday activities, including the well-attended Tree Lighting on Thursday, the chilly and damp 45-minute Christmas Parade, and the Jingle Run 5K, with 185 participants on Sunday afternoon.

* George Harris expressed concerns about drivers who are not honoring the crosswalk at Wagner and Thomas streets, noting the crosswalk sign is once again missing after damage.

* Town Manager Ron Wyatt noted that drivers were ignoring warning signs and directions by volunteers during the Jingle Run 5K on Sunday. He urged drivers to slow down and heed all signs during the busy holiday season because of the large number of pedestrians crossing streets to use sidewalks and greenways throughout town.

* Wyatt thanked the staff for its hard work in decorating the town, which has elicited many positive comments. He also thanked Kim and Stan Lippard for their help with wreathes at Town Hall and the Depot.

* Wyatt gave an update on the Talley Street sidewalks, noting delays have been because by NCDOT funding holdups and federal grant guidelines. The town projects the sidewalks will be complete in two years, barring right-of-way acquisition delays and NCDOT design and engineering approval delays.

COMING UP THURSDAY NIGHT

Wyatt noted a change in the position of public comment on Thursday’s agenda. Public comment is now near the end of meeting, just before the elected officials and Town Manager’s comments so they have an opportunity to respond to the public comments if they desire.

* The rezoning request for North Fork Business Park at 164 Nugget Lane from Suburban Residential to Conditional Heavy Industrial will come to a vote after presentation of agreed written conditions between the town and developers.

Mayor Pro Tem Paul Henkel noted that the public hearing was closed at last month’s meeting, leaving only council discussion and vote on the project.

Others agenda items include:

* Consideration of the Updated Future Land Use Map and Revised Land Use Definitions

* Annexation of 276 acres at Weathers Creek and Houston Roads for the Shinn Farms residential development and for eight acres at 122 Frazier Loop by Calvary Fellowship Church.

* Consideration of engineering firms for the AIA Water System Project ($175,000 grant) Clay System Sewer System AIA Project ($225,000 grant), and 2022 Wastewater Capacity Improvement Projects ($2.3 million cost, with $1.6 in grant funding).

* Hearing the Town of Troutman 2021-2022 Budget Year Audit (if complete).

* Setting January 12 annexation request date for a speculative warehouse facility on 2.0 acres at 138 Houston Road.

* Recognition of Chris and Francie Carney for a Troutman ESC Park Donation

* Consideration of council delegate appointments for 2023 to Centralina Council of Governments Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, and Lake Norman Transportation Commission.

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