Between Christmas and New Year’s holidays, work began on an Elkin downtown property where the former Smith Phillips lumber yard had been located.
Elkin town commissioners voted to approve monies to be spent towards the redevelopment of the property at 257 Standard St. during the 2015-16 fiscal year budgeting process. This phase of construction, about $370,000, will entail selective demolition and items such as asbestos and hazardous materials removal. It also will include the repair and replacement of the existing roof, with a new sloping roof and repair and construction of footings and foundations, which will support the final plans for the structure.
The final project completion will in all likelihood be completed through three phases of construction, this being the first phase which should be complete in early 2016, with the second and third phases proposed, given adequate funding being raised, commencing in late 2016 and then a full completion date forecasted in 2017.
The town has fully funded this first phase of development in recognition of the need by subsequent granting agencies for the Town to commit ‘matching’ funds into the project.
Leslie Schlender, economic development director for the town, said, “It is wonderful to see this first phase underway. Firstly it shows to the project’s funders the town’s commitment and value to the community to see this project through, and secondly, it spurs activity and investment interest in other properties in that area. We have undertaken a lengthy due-diligence phase, and it really was time to get going on the construction phase of this project if we really were going to pursue this ‘Heritage, Trails and Arts Center’ concept.”
Town staff have been successful in securing some grant funds for the next phases of construction and will continue to seek other sources. Successful grant applications were submitted and awarded by both the John W. and Anna H. Hanes Foundation and Cannon Foundations, with $25,000 from Hanes and $75,000 from Cannon to date.
Schlender commented, “We are so pleased foundations such as this, which have been formed through a textile heritage, see the value in our efforts to celebrate that heritage, but also see our need in this economy for diversifying and supporting existing business growth efforts.”
The town staff will be seeking further funding to complete the next phases, including the exhibition planning and fabrication phase for the interior. Additional grant deadlines are later in January and in the first quarter of 2016, with the hope those efforts will result in further funding dollars being received for the project.
The town hopes to attract an additional $400,000 to $500,000 towards the project to complete the renovations in a manner in keeping with the master plan. Additional funding strategies and sponsorships will come into play to complete the potential outdoor exhibit and landscaping as well as other project elements which can be phased in over time.
“This building has a lot riding on its shoulders. It is by far not just a tourism project, or just a home for the [Yadkin Valley] Chamber, nor is it just a trailhead facility. It is first and foremost a place to showcase all this area has to offer — ultimately for the purposes of attracting additional workforce to the area, entrepreneurs and family looking to relocate and invest in the area,” Schlender said.
“Currently, a visitor or potential employee may be in our town for a day or a weekend, and only be able to grasp a glimpse of all the Yadkin Valley has to offer; nowhere can we tell all our stories — of how great our schools are, what is happening in terms of new industries diversifying into the region, or a way for us to highlight the potential of the lifestyle our recreation opportunities can afford,” she continued. “Our businesses desperately need a center like this to complement their recruitment and promotional efforts, as much as we also need a place to ultimately support our trail visitors and vineyard enthusiasts. This center will be a place that will tell the story of our past and how we came to be, but it will more importantly highlight the potential of the region and its wonderful quality of life.”