Marvin moves on town hall plan; looks at 2013

MARVIN – Leaders in Marvin voted Wednesday, Nov. 28, to spend $7,500 to develop plans for a new community center and town hall for Marvin-Efird Park.

Town staff discussed using the old house currently at the park as a future town hall, but currently is looking at building a new structure to house town government. Once a plan is developed, town council will vote on what steps come next.

The community center and town hall are two key pieces of Marvin leaders’ plans for 2013. Other goals for 2013 won’t be set until the town’s annual retreat in February, officials say.

Since the town’s creation in 1994, town hall has been rented. That’s fiscally irresponsible, in the opinion of Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Burman, who said the creation of a permanent community center and town hall is one of the last main goals he originally hoped to complete during his time in office.

When running for office in 2009, Burman and Councilman Ron Salimao walked door-to-door talking to about 1,000 residents in the village, according to Salimao.

“When I ran three years ago, Mr. Burman and I went (around) and people were shocked we were still renting our town hall,” Salimao said.

Burman said most residents are on board with the creation of a new community center and town hall, and he has heard little opposition to the plan.

“I have heard a lot of positive feedback from the community over the years,” he said. “I have only heard about two negatives comments … there may be others out there but I haven’t heard about it.”

But there is some dissent regarding the town hall plans. A number of residents, such as Paul Schneider, are concerned about what direction town council is moving in. Schneider said his main concern is that the proposed town hall location may be temporary.

“Your council adamantly told you, while spending more than $100,000 in legal fees over four years, that the folks being forcibly annexed last summer wanted to be part of Marvin,” he wrote in a letter to Union County Weekly. “Ultimately, 85 percent of affected homeowners rejected the annexation. Now, they are telling you that you need to spend $400,000 on this temporary home for the Village Hall.”

According to Burman, the creation of Marvin-Efird Park was in response to Marvin residents’ request for a “passive park.”  Schneider said in his letter that the addition of a community center and town hall would cause the park to no longer fulfill this need, but would create the need for “full-time, year-round employees to man, clean, maintain, secure and supervise all activities, extended hours to accommodate evening functions, traffic, light and noise pollution at all hours.”

Despite these complaints, Burman said the purpose of choosing the current location of Marvin-Efird Park was the structure on the property and the possibility of making it the new community center and town hall for Marvin. After looking at many different properties for the Marvin-Efird Park, council decided on the current location because of the trails already in place and the house located on the property.

In addition to creating a permanent location for the community center and town hall, Marvin plans to send out a land-use survey next year to gather opinions from residents about where they would like to see the village go in the future.

“We want to get input on how residents see the village now and how they see it in the future,” Village Administrator Lisa Thompson said.

Marvin’s Traffic Calming Committee also will continue to meet and draft their plans and solutions to reduce the speeding and traffic issues in the community.  The committee will present its findings to the town council next year before voting on what to do next.

Marvin has struggled with many traffic issues and has implemented what may be the first of a number of small changes.  Recently, the speed limit on Marvin School Road from Marvin Elementary School to Rea Road was reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph.

“We had a few citizen complaints about drivers’ speed, especially with the elementary school right there,” Thompson said, adding that the North Carolina Department of Transportation “quickly responded with the study and change to the speed limit.”

The next town council meeting will take place Dec. 11, a Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m. at  Banks Presbyterian Church, 10012 New Town Road.

Union County Weekly will look at the 2013 plans of each of our western Union County towns over the next few weeks. Send letters to the editor regarding the future of the towns to news@unioncounty

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