Carthage planning board recommends downtown plans, fiber installations

The Carthage Planning Board approved downtown revitalization plans and new internet fiber plans on June 6 and will recommend them to commissioners on June 17.

The focus of improvements is on the heart of downtown and the area around Courthouse Circle.

The board approved option 2, as seen on page 41 of the design concepts, and streetscape option A, as seen on page 43. 

Koontz Jones Design reviewed plans with public commenters and the planning board in November 2023, March 2024 and again at the June 6 meeting.

Public commenters, including business owners of Lisa’s Boutique, The Cottage Outback in the Tyson-Sinclair building, and The Cat Lounge, expressed parking concerns.

A resident who uses a wheelchair explained that handicapped spaces needed two parking spaces for the large vans to unload wheelchairs, space to back up, and an area out of the way of traffic.

Town Planner Jennifer Hunt said they looked at paid parking, but the town was not ready yet because there was no way to mark tires.

“A public street can’t have reserved parking,” Hunt said about businesses having dedicated parking spaces.

Annette McGraw works in the county courthouse, was hit by a vehicle in the traffic circle and had physical therapy for six months.

“This is a state route, and DOT won’t install a stop light. They want to keep traffic going, and we want to slow it down,” Hunt said.

Koontz said the traffic circle would be narrowed to slow traffic, and they reevaluated crosswalks at the courthouse. There is room for wheelchair access vans to back up, and specialty pavers direct walkers to cross the road one lane at a time.

During new business at Thursday’s meeting, Ripple Fiber’s team answered the board’s questions.

Hunt said Ripple Fiber’s internet installation phases will confer with town staff after each completed phase. The company has an eight-month completion goal, but it may take longer because of the town’s limited staff.

Ripple Fiber’s Director of Government Affairs Jason Fajerski said the large project will provide value for the citizens of Carthage with one gigabit per second speed.

According to, “A typical connection in the U.S. is around 100 Mbps (depending on who you ask, the median speed is somewhere between 90 and 250 Mbps). That means gigabit internet is 10 times faster than the typical U.S. connection.”

The fiber is installed in Pinehurst and Southern Pines, in progress in Whispering Pines and under review with homeowner associations in Seven Lakes.

Kylar Martin, Ripple Fiber’s regional executive, oversees projects and said to inform residents of installation, they place yellow door hangers on front doors.

Planning board member David Norris said he works from home and is excited about the improved internet speed.

Review Ripple Fiber’s installation maps beginning on page eight of the agenda here

Feature photo: The Carthage Planning Board approves option 2 as part of the town’s downtown revitalization plan-photo via agenda packet.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Stephanie is also an English instructor at Central Carolina Community College. She is the author of young adult fiction, including When the Yellow Slugs Sing and Sky’s River Stone, and a suspense, GUTTERSNIPE: Shakespearean English Stage Play with Translation.

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