Aberdeen approves downtown zoning change

The Aberdeen Board of Commissioners discussed downtown traffic reconfiguration and voted to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for general projects and water and sewer projects at its June 15 meeting. The town is expected to receive approximately $2.50 million in ARPA funds by the end of June 2022.

In preparation for the funds, the board created a financial pathway for the projects. The general projects include the Sportsplex, construction, expenses, supporting nonprofits and budgeting up to $1.8 million. The budgeting fund includes replacing lost revenue during the pandemic.

The water and sewer projects include construction, repairs, programs and purchases of up to $700,000. Town Manager Paul Sabiston said totals will fluctuate as details on projects become clearer.

Concerning budget finances, the sales tax revenue for the month of April at $264,000 pushed the revenue up to 120%, according to Finance Director Butch Watson.

The board also discussed the survey and questionnaire responses on downtown traffic reconfiguration to ease traffic congestion and will continue the discussion with public comments on June 28 at 6 p.m.

Business owners made up 50% of respondents in the survey and questionnaires. Shoppers made up 25%, and residents made up 8.3%. The town is still reaching out for feedback.

Currently, the most popular traffic reconfiguration is to convert North Sycamore Street from two-way traffic to southbound traffic only, between Knight Street and West Maple Street. The plan includes converting Knight Street from two-way traffic to westbound traffic only, between North Poplar Street and North Sycamore Street.

Mayor Robert Farrell said transfer trucks with pine straw and hay deliveries in downtown Aberdeen are a problem due to narrow streets and blocked driveways when unloading materials. Planning Director Justin Westbrook suggested using signage and designated unloading areas.

The need to reconfigure traffic is due to complaints originating in 2020 of business traffic and congestion on North Sycamore Street, between Knight Street and Maple Street.

To gather a public response, the board had presented three options in the survey and questionnaires.

In upcoming news, on Friday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Aberdeen Fire Department at 800 Holly Street will have a spaghetti fundraiser. It is drive-thru only, and delivery is available for orders of five or more plates.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie M. Sellers.

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