Last updated: June 01. 2013 11:47AM - 258 Views

Jessica Pickens

Staff Writer

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After six months of negotiations, the Town of Elkin and Elkin Valley Baptist Church came to an agreement Monday night.

The Town Planning Board worked with the church to create a redesign of North Elkin Drive. Town Planning Director George Crater presented the new plan. A new North Elkin Drive will be constructed and the 500 feet that runs through the church campus will be closed.

“The closure of the old North Elkin Drive will happen at the same time as the new North Elkin Drive opens,” Crater said.

Elkin Valley Baptist Church originally proposed in 2009 and again in March 2012 to close down North Elkin Drive for expansion of the church and the safety of its members crossing the street.

In May, the church and community had a public hearing on the road closure, and the board of commissioners tabled the decision for 90 days to research a compromise.

The new road will be shifting North Elkin Drive up and to the right, going above and around the Elkin Valley Baptist Church cemetery, said Town Manager Lloyd Payne.

The Town of Elkin drew up a resolution as follows:

“1. A new two lane street shall be built by the Elkin Valley Baptist Church. Construction of the street shall be in accordance with standards of the North Carolina Department of Transportation for public highways. The street shall be paved, properly marked for two lane traffic, with shoulders and drainage as prescribed by the Department of Transportation.

“2. The Elkin Valley Baptist Church shall install street lights in the right of way along the new street as directed by the Town of Elkin Public Works Department and shall place one fire hydrant on the street in a location recommended by the Chief of the Elkin Fire Department.

“3. Upon completion of the new street, street lighting and the fire hydrant, Elkin Valley Baptist Church shall tender to the Town of Elkin a deed for the new street and improvements with the street having a minimum width of 45 feet for its entire length.

“4. The Town of Elkin, at a regular or special meeting following the tender of the deed for the street, shall ensure that the above requirements have been fully complied with; and, if so, the Town will address the resolution to accept the deed and the new street as a town street and adopt an Ordinance to Close the current portion of North Elkin Drive reserving all utility easements.”

Town officials, Police Chief Monroe Wagoner and Economic Development Director Leslie Schlender did not have an issue with the proposed new road.

Fire Chief Tommy Wheeler requested a fire hydrant to be put on the new North Elkin Drive, and Public Works Director Robert Fuller had questions about the entrance to the church and sidewalks and gutter curbs around that location.

“Another concern of mine was what their intentions were with the utilities on their property,” Fuller said. “The church will be responsible for rerouting everything such as sewer and water utilities and adding street signs and street lights.”

The town has set a date of Nov. 1, 2013, for Elkin Valley Baptist Church to have the road completed, Payne said.

The approximate cost the church will pay to build the road is $200,000, and they plan to begin fundraising immediately, said Elkin Valley Baptist Church pastor Johnny Blevins.

“I’m very happy that we have been able to come to a compromise,” Blevins said. “We have tried very hard to be a good neighbor along the way.”

Reach Jessica Pickens at 835-1513 ext. 18 or jpickens@heartlandpublications.com

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