1-17-2023 – Mayor presents ‘State of the City’ to rotarians

Posted on: January 17th, 2023 by admin No Comments


January 17 2023





LENOIR — Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons gave a presentation about recent developments and improvements in the city during the Rotary Club of Lenoir’s meeting on Friday, Jan. 13.


Stephen Starnes, president of Rotary Club of Lenoir, introduced Gibbons to the Rotary attendees.


“I am very, very proud that he serves as mayor of our community,” said Starnes. “He represents our community so well, and we’re very grateful for what he does for our community.”


Gibbons, with assistance from the city’s Public Information Officer Joshua Harris, presented a slideshow detailing everything that’s been going on in Lenoir and the surrounding community.


“It’s an honor always to be with the Lenoir Rotary Club,” Gibbons began. “This is a great club, and we appreciate all that Rotary means to this community.”


The first section of the presentation detailed private investment developments in the city, such as housing, retail, and commercial businesses.


Forty-six new market-rate loft apartments were created at Blue Bell at Lenoir Mills, which officially opened at 1241 College Ave. in April 2022.


New businesses opened in downtown Lenoir, including Aary’s Ice Cream (108 Main Street NW), Mi Molcajete (104 Main St), The Time Capsule Vintage Store (808 West Ave), 4440 Ranch and Cattle Company (215 North Main Street), Wolf Moon Salt Cave and Stress Reduction Center (814 Harper Ave), The Buckin’ Babe Boutique ( 221 North Main St), The Boomerang (309 Main Street Suite C), Brews and Mews Cat Cafe (219 N Main Street), Ben Griffin Realty and Auction (1035 Harper Ave.), and R&R Salon at the Courtney (818 West Ave. NW in the old Courtney building).


Other businesses celebrated relocation and reopenings, such as The Lenoir Service League Thrift Shop (906 West Ave) and Taste of Havana (now located at 819 West Ave).


A number of festivals and gatherings took place in downtown Lenoir in 2022, bringing visitors from all across the country.


Love the Spring Festival, led by Moonjoy Meadery, was held for the first time. The free event brought in 64 total vendors including local breweries, wineries, and businesses, 45 local artists and crafters were there celebrating the beginning of spring.


Golden Cardinal Gallery hosted their annual Carolina Tattoo & Arts Gathering at their new location, 1016 Harper Ave.


A record number of roughly 21,000 visitors attended the 2022 North Carolina Blackberry Festival in downtown Lenoir. Attendees enjoyed vendors and exhibits, blackberries and cobbler, blackberry eating contests, the Blackberry Festival parade, and more. The city will take over the event this year.


The next section of the presentation discussed public investments for new events, facility improvements, paving, plans, and more.


Lenoir High School Auditorium renovations are currently underway. Phase 1 included gutting and rebuilding two bathrooms on the lower floor of the facility. Phase 2 includes painting the walls and ceiling of the entry and main lobby area, repairing the roof over the entry lobby, painting the stage walls, replacing the HVAC units, and switching the existing lighting in the auditorium to LED. Workers will also replace the carpet in the lobby and install new roof gutters on the auditorium building. Phase 3 is on the way.


In early 2022, Public Works completed the improvements to the Tucker’s Gallery art bases to make it easier for artists and the Caldwell Arts Council (CAC) to display sculpture in downtown Lenoir. Tucker’s Gallery includes 12 pedestals located on Main Street and West Ave.


In May 2022, city staff launched a new festival, the Lenoir Bicycle Festival. About 300 people attended the first event. The festival offered a free-ride lane around downtown on Main Street, West Ave, Church Street, and Harper Ave.


Moreover, staff held the city’s first Neon Night Ride at the Lenoir Rotary Soccer Complex on Zacks Fork Road to celebrate World Bicycle Day in June 2022. More than 100 riders decorated their bikes and selves with glow sticks and lights and rode a couple miles on the greenway.


In July 2022, the city hired Fat Boy Pressure Washing to clean sidewalks in downtown Lenoir. The cleaning was part of the continuing effort to keep downtown and Lenoir looking great.


Council recognized and honored Central Barber Shop for the business’ centennial celebration during the July 19 city council meeting. Central Barber Shop has been operating in downtown Lenoir since May 1922.


Contractors built a new stormwater feature at J.E. Broyhill Park in August 2022. The Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance slows down rainwater and reduces erosion at the lower end of the park.


In September 2022, city of Lenoir Fire Department earned a Class 2 rating from the N.C. Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM). Lenoir Fire joined the ranks of the 3.9% of fire departments across the state with a rating of Class 2 or better. Higher ratings can significantly lower business insurance rates in that fire district.


Staff launched the reimagined Wood, Fire, Smoke Festival in October 2022. Skilled craftsmen, artisans, and chefs converged in downtown to carve with chainsaws, pour molten metal, and cook delicious barbecue to celebrate Lenoir’s furniture heritage and commitment to art, design, and innovation.


Public Services hired a Horticulture Specialist in the Public Works Division in December of last year who will create a landscaping plan for downtown Lenoir and city properties and will also maintain the city’s plants, shrubs, and decorative trees.


The city bought a lot of new Christmas lights and decorations to celebrate the holidays in 2022. The lights were a big hit with the public, and staff received many compliments about the beautiful decorations.


The renovation to the police department entrance is nearly complete. Contractors installed a new ADA compliant ramp, new stone facade, a new stamped-concrete entrance, and a new sign.


Last year, council approved the new Downtown Lenoir Social District. The district allows the public to purchase alcohol and walk around downtown as long as they stay within the district boundaries. The district went into effect in January 2023.


The Downtown Master Plan will kickoff Jan. 24. The Master Plan will establish a cohesive vision for downtown Lenoir and guide future development in the heart of the city.


In December 2022, the city of Lenoir was awarded $580,000 toward planning and development of The Campus at the Historic Lenoir High School project. The Campus includes LHS auditorium, LHS gymnasium, LHS band building, Trades/Masonry building, Mack Cook Stadium, and Farmers Market.


Lots of exciting new things are expected to be coming to downtown Lenoir in 2023. Visit www.lenoirrotaryclub.com or follow The Rotary Club of Lenoir on Facebook for more information about Rotary Club meetings.

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