The North Wilkesboro commissioners on March 25 set a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on April 22 for discussion related to a proposed reception hall and event venue in the downtown.

Valery Guevara on March 1 made application to amend the term “recreational hall” in town code to “reception hall/event venue” so that she could establish such a venue on the bottom floor underneath Stoney Creek Therapeutic Massage at 209 10th Street.

Guevara said after the board’s work session on March 25 that the venue would be used for mainly private gatherings such as weddings, receptions, arts and crafts shows and meetings.

If adopted by the commissioners, reception halls and event venues would be permitted by right in the town’s central business, general business and highway business districts.

The town’s planning board unanimously recommended on March 12 that the ordinance be approved by the commissioners.

The commissioners could take action on the ordinance on May 4.

Splash pad

Town Manager Wilson Hooper said on March 25 that, concerning the completion of the splash pad at Smoot Park, the town had received three quotes from reputable aquatics companies.

Each quote was about $150,000, and Hooper said that with incidental costs the project could cost about $160,000 to complete.

Hooper asked the commissioners to consider appropriating $100,000 from the town’s general fund contingency fund to the recreation budget for completion of the splash pad with one of the three contractors. The item was on the agenda of the board’s regular meeting Tuesday.

During closed session on Feb. 2, the commissioners agreed to break ties with the project’s original contractor, North Wilkesboro-based Mastin Aquatic Recreation LLC, for breach of contract.

The town’s legal intentions were included in a March 19 certified letter to owner James “Buster” Mastin, which said the town would finish the project with another contractor and seek reimbursement from Mastin before it can seek a legal judgment against the company.

Commissioner Michael Parsons said he has “a hard time stomaching another $150,000 for this project,” adding that the town likely “won’t see a dime from Mastin.”

Commissioner Andrew Palmer said he didn’t want to spend more than $50,000 of town funds to complete the splash pad.

Hooper said that if the town receives reimbursement from Mastin, or wins judgment in a court case, those funds would be placed in the town’s general fund capital reserves fund for use on a future project.

Mastin started work on the splash pad in the fall of 2017, with completion scheduled by Dec. 1, 2017, under his contract with the town. His commitment to finish was later revised to the fall of 2019.

The town paid Mastin $120,930 for his work on the project through June 7, 2018. In July 2019, its estimated cost was $130,000 due to upgrades required by the county health department. The original estimate was $85,794.

Mastin said some of the delays in the project were partly due to changes the town made in specifications and equipment after a $29,503 grant from Lowe’s Companies was received for the project in February 2018.

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