As the end of the fiscal year ends and the Town of Norwood prepares to present next years budget to the citizens of Norwood, I would like to take this moment to reflect on some of the improvements and projects that have been completed since this time last year. I realize that there has been a lot of negative publicity on Norwood in the past year, so I would like to share some of the positive changes that the current board and staff have accomplished.
Since March of 2016, Norwood has made numerous changes and improvements to the Darrell Almond Park in Norwood. These include, needed repairs inside and out of the Skidmore house, drainage problem being fixed across the walking track by the restrooms as well as in the back of the restrooms. Lighting has been added to the Park sign and the trees out front, as well as the walking track. The fountain in the pond has been fixed and has worked since. Norwood flags have been added to some of the light poles at the park. Repairs and upgrades have also been made to the park on Turner Street. The bathrooms have been completely renovated and the building has received a new roof and paint. With the help of the South Stanly Dixie Girls Softball league, a sidewalk and retaining wall has been added to guest side of the field.
The town has purchased several new mowers, weed eaters, and leaf blowers to replace some of the older ones which are being sold as surplus items from the town.The town has also purchased at least four new trucks for the workers in the town and have had them marked with the new town logo. These trucks have replaced some of the older trucks that were in need of much repair. The older trucks have deemed surplus vehicles and sold on line. Norwood maintenance crew has been divided into two different departments, the field, ground, sanitation and streets department and the the water and sewer department. Each departments has a crew leader to strive that the most proficient work is coming from each department. The town has remodeled and repaired the building on Campbell Street and this is the now the home of the Field, Ground, Sanitation and Streets department.
Repairs have been made to the Water and Sewer department on Anson Avenue and inventory has been and will continue to be added to the Water and Sewer department. These parts and inventory allows Norwood to respond and repair emergencies at a faster and more efficient pace. A new hydro vac has been purchased for the town to allow the water and sewer department to vacuum water out meter vaults and/or manholes all across town. Previously this was one service that has always been contracted out thus affecting our response time in making the repairs.
The town hall can now accept debit and credit cards for payment of water bills. These payments can be made over the phone or in the office. A new website has been developed at Norwoodgov.com where citizens can get information of the town, as well as download needed forms and see minutes from previous board meetings. The town hall is now open each day from 9 am to 5 pm and employs three full time employees that are cross trained to handle all the responsibilities of the office. The town council is continuing to meet twice a month and has suspended any monetary compensation for their time and work.
Many repairs and upgrades have been made to the water treatment plant as well as the waste water treatment plant. The waste water treatment plant is now being operated on a daily basis by Envirolink. Envirolink also serves as the ORC for the water plant as well. The town is continuing to contract with Stanly County for zoning violations. A series of letters are being released every two weeks to clean up and fix zoning violations through out the town. Several roads have been paved since last year and we will continue to work on roads in need of repair and pavement. Flags have been added downtown with the new logo for the town. The town has purchased two buildings in downtown for the purpose of downtown development. One of the buildings will be offered for sale with the stipulation that a business be housed there. The other building, which was deemed beyond repair from an economic point of view, was also considered a safety hazard. These spaces, once maintained, will add to marketability and beautification of downtown. The board is currently discussing what might be done with this space.
The town has recently entered into a lease with option to buy, of the old Suntrust Bank on Main Street. Some renovations are being completed in the building and the Norwood Town Hall will move to this location in July of this year. The current Town Hall building will be sold to the Norwood Fire Department for the purpose of building a new fire station on Main Street. The town has entered into an agreement with the fire department to buy their current fire station for the purpose of housing all of the Norwood Maintenance department.
In the past few months the town has entered into a contract with Retail Academy to improve our ability to identify potential retail matches that might bring additional businesses to Norwood.
The town is also engaged in a pilot program for cellular read water meters after purchasing 10 water meters initially. Soon after, the town purchased a few larger sized meters for some of our larger water users. These meters are providing a more accurate meter reading for water usage and the town is collecting more accurate collections for actual water use. The town would like to eventually get all of the water meters in Norwood switched to cellular read. In addition to the water meter project, the board is looking into upgrading all of our sewer lift stations to telemetry, which reduces the daily visits to each of the town’s 15 sewer lift stations to once per week rather than 7 days per week.
Lastly, the town has purchased two new police cars, as well as new firearms and ammunition for each police officer. The police department has added and filled one full time position within the department.
These are some of the changes that have occurred in Norwood over the past year. I am sure that I have left out several things that has been completed but these are the ones that come to mind. As you can see, this current board, as well as all of the employees in Norwood have been very hard at work for the betterment of Norwood. As the upcoming budget is released, please know that this board is committed to bringing change and seeing Norwood grow. We hope that you will continue to support our efforts and watch Norwood succeed and grow.
Last week after I put this together, we lost a huge part of our future plans for Norwood, Chris Coone. He has been a tremendous asset to our town and we will forever remember him. We will continue to work hard to keep up with The high precedence he has set for this town. Together we will all work together to move Norwood forward.
Thanks Mayor Pro-Tem Linda Campbell