DOBSON — The town will go digital in its efforts to advertise town-sponsored events.
On Thursday the Dobson Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to lease a corner of the property on which the historic courthouse sits. A digital sign will be placed at the corner.
Town Manager Josh Smith said the town currently places banners at the former courthouse building, which is now home to the offices of the district attorney. However, the digital sign will replace those banners.
Smith said the contract, which will likely go before the Surry County Board of Commissioners at the board’s first meeting in November, calls for the town to pay one dollar per year to use the property. Construction will soon begin on a project which calls for no money from the town’s coffers.
“The TDA (Tourism Development Authority) has agreed to fund all construction costs,” explained Smith.
Smith said the town and the TDA have been able to “piggy-back” on the renovation project underway at the aging structure. The bricks used to build the sign will be purchased at the rates secured by the renovation contractor, David Hill Builders. Thus, the brickwork will match that of the former courthouse.
There will be some costs, though minimal, involved, explained Smith. The messages on the board will be controlled by town officials by way of a Wi-Fi connection. The town may need to set up another Wi-Fi server at the courthouse. Minimal costs will also be incurred to pay the electricity for the sign, though that will be minimized due to the fact the sign uses LED lights.
Town officials will have the sole say-so on what messages run on the board, though the TDA has asked the town to limit its use to town-sponsored events and events which draw tourists to the area, said Smith.
“I’m sure that will look nicer and be a lot easier on you all,” Mayor Ricky Draughn told Smith.
Dobson currently provides water services in the Interstates Water and Sewer District, and under an agreement with Surry County it will continue to do so for an indefinite period of time.
However, Mount Airy will provide the sewer services in the district once the project underway is completed, which may be within weeks of Thursday’s meeting. Sewer billing is based on water usage, making an agreement between the two municipalities necessary for Mount Airy to bill for its side of the services.
Smith provided a draft version of the contract to commissioners, noting it may go through some revisions. The agreement would call for Dobson to do all billing for the city and send the city a monthly check. Mount Airy would pay Dobson $250 for an initial set-up fee and $100 monthly for the town’s billing services.
In other business, Smith told the board a recent meeting of business leaders in the town was successful, with many wanting to take part. Another meeting will be scheduled in January.
Additionally, Smith said a project to beautify Dobson’s downtown area, a goal of the board, is chugging along. He received an engineer’s plan for 24 decorative islands around light poles in the downtown area. The plan was sent back for some minor revisions.
Smith also said he is working with a company called Destination by Design to evaluate the possibility of a greenway system in Dobson. A proposed greenway would likely connect the downtown area to Fisher River Park and Shelton Vineyards. Once a plan is engineered and if the board opts to move forward with a proposal, Smith’s next task would be to secure funding.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.