Woodfin – Woodfin Commissioners made quick work of a relatively short agenda Tuesday night (April 19th). Among the more notable actions of the meeting was the town’s accepting a $2.7 million paving contract from Madison County-based French Broad Paving. It also donated $25,000 towards a Woodfin Elementary school playground project.
French Broad Paving came in lowest among three bids the town received for an ambitious repaving effort consisting of about 20 streets and roads inside the town.
Woodfin Town Manager Shannon Tuch told the board, “We are very happy this bid came in under our budgeted amount.” She added that the first round of postings did not yield the minimum three bids required by law. However, the second posting did attract the required additional bids: Bryant’s Land and Development Industries and APAC Atlantic were the other competing bids.
Woodfin Mayor Jerry VeHaun asked when the work would begin, to which Tuch replied, “That is a good question. Really soon. They are very excited.” Luke Williams, Town Project Manager, said they could start the first week of May, with about five weeks worth of work to complete. The other bids came in at approximately $3.8 million and $4.1 million, respectively.
The town also donated $25,000 towards an effort to help Woodfin Elementary School with a $230,000 playground project. Woodfin Commissioner Ronnie Lunsford asked how the town money donation would be received by the school for the park. Would it go to the foundation or to the school system? Woodfin Budget Director Sheri Powers explained, “I spoke to the financial director with the school board to make sure I was clear on their required process. We had entertained the possibility of donating to the 5K Foundation, which is also supporting the event. There are restrictions about donating public funds to a private foundation. My preferred method of funding the project would be to write a check directly to the school. So I called her today to discuss that process and how it works and she said we could make that donation, and they would earmark it to reserve those funds on their balance sheet specifically for this project.” According to Powers, there is an anonymous donor matching the town’s donation.
Dr. April Wright, principal of Woodfin Elementary School, told the board that the school was buying the approved playground equipment from the local company Playnation which has already worked with other schools.
Woodfin Commissioner Elisabeth Ervin queried if the school system would be maintaining the playground for the school, to which Wright responded that, “Typically, it is the school and the school PTO that maintains the grounds.” She went on saying that funds are limited for the upkeep of the playground and that they were using rubber mulch, which lasts much longer than traditional mulch.
Woodfin Commissioner Jim McAllister asked how soon before the playground would be open for the students. April Wright responded, she, “…couldn’t even project that. My hope is that we start with this process by fall. What’s been holding us up is funding.” As soon as the board approves the funding. Wright was also asked what the donation from the town meant for the project to which she replied, “we have an anonymous matching donor so what it means for us, for the project, is $50,000 [dollars total]…so that’s substantial.” Asked how the school intended to raise their $25,000 share, Wright said, “We’re going to fundraise. We’ve already started.”
The commissioners also passed a symbolic resolution supporting the Ukrainian government in its war with Russia. They also heard a report from the Parks & Greenway Advisory Committee recommending possible Pickle Ball courts in already existing local parks.
During the police report, McAllister asked Woodfin Police Chief Michael Dykes about the stats of Woodfin’s troubled K-9 unit, Chef. Dykes told the board that Chef had another set back in which he had an “episode” and had to go to Greenville for an MRI before humoring where the program’s future was headed.