Mount Airy officials have voted to allow a grease trap and stairwell to be added in a refurbished area downtown known as Canteen Alley to aid a new restaurant.
This occurred through the city Board of Commissioners’ unanimous approval of an easement request from a local construction firm involving the alleyway known for its restored Coca-Cola sign on the side of a wall at 185 N. Main St. The name Canteen Alley refers to a business by that name which was located in the space from 1934 to 1987, before being torn down.
The easement request was submitted earlier this month by Jerry Coram Jr., the president of J.G. Coram Co., in order to allow use of city-owned space within the alley that runs perpendicular to North Main Street.
Coram explained that the new stairwell would provide access to the back entrance of a building at 115 Franklin St. which is now blocked by a rear stairwell at 185 N. Main St., the longtime location of Hair World. This also will allow the area behind 121 Franklin St. — site of a new 1,200-square-foot restaurant — to be clear for roll-off trash cans and mechanical units.
The new stairwell and the access it will provide to 115 Franklin St. is necessary to meet egress requirements of the North Carolina Building Code, according to Coram, who added that the wooden stairs would be installed to code standards.
City officials’ granting of the easement for the stairway and grease trap, during a meeting last Thursday night, will cause some disturbance of features in Canteen Alley, where a grand reopening was held in June 2016.
That event celebrated a series of renovations to the alleyway, including seating areas, landscaping, a small granite stage and twinkle lights woven through a wooden trellis overhead. These additions were sparked by the earlier restoration of the old Coke sign advertising that product for a nickel.
A multi-colored fence also adorns Canteen Alley.
Under the plans announced by Coram, the trash cans and mechanical units servicing 121 Franklin St. will be concealed by that fence — however, it will have to be dismantled and reassembled.
Meanwhile, the grease trap is to be placed between the fence and an existing sidewalk through the alleyway which connects North Main Street with a municipal parking lot on Franklin Street.
The grease trap’s dimensions are 5 feet by 10 feet, and it will be buried with two small access points.
A grease trap is a plumbing device designed to intercept most greases and solids before they enter a wastewater-disposal system.
“This area will be returned to (its) existing condition as much as possible,” Coram wrote in his easement request to city officials.
“Plants may be a problem.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.