Last updated: July 22. 2014 3:48PM - 268 Views
By Keith Strange kstrange@civitasmedia.com

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DOBSON — Thursday night’s board of commissioners meeting in the town of Dobson is about one thing: Clearing the few remaining hurdles to construction on the planned Dobson Square Park.

“This meeting is about getting ready for construction to start,” Town Manager Josh Smith said Tuesday morning. “That’s going to be the theme.”

During the meeting, the town’s board is expected to approve a $858,400 contract with Mount Airy-based contractor Simcon Construction, a move Smith said will serve as their “notice to proceed” with construction.

“The contract is fairly standard language for a construction contract and doesn’t have any surprises,” he said.

The board will also consider a proposal to close a small section of Comer Street, which runs through the planned 2.5 acre park.

As a final order of business, Smith said the board will discuss options on park financing through the state Local Government Commission, which oversees municipal financing.

Dobson Square Park is planned for the intersection of South Crutchfield and West Atkins streets. It is expected to house two picnic shelters, one of which will double as the site of the town’s farmer’s market, an interactive fountain, splash pad, playground and walking trails.

Dobson has secured a grant worth $498,000 from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which is expected to cover about half the construction costs for the park.

“We’re going to discuss different options we can take through the Local Government Commission, including using some of our money in the bank to pay off existing debt,” Smith said. “We’re considering using a loan to finance a little more of the park project and paying off some higher-interest debt.”

With interest rates at their current level, Smith said the safe course of action is to use part of the town’s savings and finance the rest.

“Interest rates are so low right now that it’s a good idea to borrow money,” he said. “It’s cheap and we can hold onto a part of our savings in the event an emergency crops up and we have to spend money we hadn’t planned on spending.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.

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