The Rotary Lodge at Hinson Lake is being spruced up. After five years of being well cared for, the lodge is receiving general maintenance.
Public Works staff have redone the road and re-screened the porch. The outdoor fans’ blades have been replaced. The piers and decks have had rotting boards replaced and have been re-stained. The lodge’s kitchen received new tiles on the walls and new sink hardware. The lodge was pressure-washed on the outside, and the inside is receiving a new coat of paint from Judith Coan.
“This place is so beautiful,” said Coan. “We had my daughter’s wedding reception here.”
Coan is privately contracted for some city paint jobs, and painted the inside and outside of the Rockingham Police Station.
Hinson Lake provides outdoor recreation opportunities for people who like to fish, sail, paddle or hike. There are five different walking trails around the lake, with designated picnic areas and chances to view the protected wildlife in a natural setting. Hinson Lake is open to the public during the day, and the lodge can be rented for events.
Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump noted that, after five years, there was no vandalism to the property, and the wear and tear present was a reasonable amount.
In other news:
-A lot just outside city limits has been annexed to the city after a public hearing Tuesday night. After hearing no objections, the city council agreed to annex approximately 2 acres located at 350 U.S. Highway 1 South.
-After the resignation of Planning Board Member Caroline Thomas, nominations were needed for the vacant seat. The city council moved to appoint Tom Ingles, who said he was willing to serve on the board.
“Caroline did an excellent job,” said Mayor Gene McLaurin.
“Ingle would be a really good appointment to the planning board,” said Councilman Gene Willard.
-Paullette Wall, Homeless Coordinator for Richmond County Schools, gave a presentation on the Homeless Resources Fair scheduled for March 19. Various booths will provide information to the homeless about what options are available to them, and create awareness within the community. Wall discussed the homeless problem within the school system, and explained what is being done. She brought up to city council the need for emergency housing for women and children that are homeless or doubling up with another family.
“It’s just something I want your ears to hear as you go about getting funding,” said Wall. Last year, there were 108 homeless children in the school system. This year, January alone had more than 90 homeless children in the county. Wall said that, without transitional housing for women and children who have no place to go, she has to default them to one of the surrounding counties.
Wall explained that the transitional housing that is available is full, causing people to live in motels and hotels, cars, streets or with other people.
Crump said, “Shelters here haven’t done well. Last year, the money was allocated but not used.”
Wall responded, “If we build it, they will come.”
-The city council discussed a proposal by Ellerbe Telephone to establish WiFi along Washington Street in Rockingham. Although the final decision is pending on whether Progress Energy agrees to install the radios on poles, the council is all in favor.
“Until it’s put in place it’s going to be hard to say exactly how far the reception will be,” said Crump. “Businesses can purchase a device to make the signal stronger.”
Bennett Deane said, “It’s a great idea to bring this technology into Rockingham and the cost is very reasonable.”
The total cost would be divided equally between Ellerbe Telephone Communications (ETCOM) and the city of Rockingham, initially, and after installation, all maintenance and upkeep of the network will be the sole responsibility of ETCOM, excluding the power for the units. The cost comes to $4,388 for the Washington Street area, and if the city chooses to put WiFi at Browder Park or Hinson Lake in the future, it would cost them $1,100 per site. The monthly charge for bandwidth is $52.95 along Washington Street.
Once the network is in place, people will be able to access the Internet for free for 30 minutes.
“It’s nice that we can partner with a local company on this,” said Councilman John Hutchinson. “We can provide a service people will use and like.”
-Before blockages can be removed from Hitchcock Creek to make it accessible to boats, the council awaits funding from the state. While the state debates approval of funds for the project, the city waits in anticipation to know if they will need to match the funds.
-Rockingham’s Wastewater Treatment Plant’s new plan for sludge disposal is moving smoothly, according to Crump. Sludge is being hauled to the Anson County landfill in Polkton instead of being made into compost and taken to the Sandhills Gamelands.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ex. 43, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.