By Jonathan E. Coleman
Over the past few years, restoration projects at the historic post office site on Robinson Church Road have been the norm., The most recent addition, a log cabin believed to be nearly 150 years old, has been sitting on the site for several months, but has yet to be placed on its foundation and restored.
Monday, the Harrisburg Town Council voted to include $10,000 in the 2009-10 budget for continued work on the cabin.
Despite the vote for additional money, some council members expressed concerns about the project.
“One of the biggest complaints I’m hearing from people is how bad it looks out there,” said councilman Bob Scaggs. “I think if we could turn it around quickly, we might stop hearing that from people who drive by it every day.”
Councilman Bill Williams, who has long been an advocate of preserving Harrisburg’s history and a strong supporter of the post office recreational site, said once the foundation is set and the building secure, the council would need to consider how much of a restoration it would take on at the cabin.
“Once we get in on the foundation, there are two ways we could go,” he said. “One, the public doesn’t go inside, and we stop short of that. The other would be to make it safe for the public to go inside.”
Several members were interested in getting feedback from the Harrisburg Historical Society about what role the group might take in future restoration projects.
“Let’s get it structurally sound on the foundation and then let the historical society determine how much they want to put in to keep it up cosmetically or to whatever degree they see fit,” said councilman Jeff Redfern.
Town to negotiate with COG on administrator search
More than two months after terminating the contract of their town administrator, members of Harrisburg’s Town Council continued the discussion about how to best find his replacement.
In an effort to help provide some direction in the search, the council voted Monday to begin negotiations with Centralina Council of Governments to help assist in the search.
Mayor Tim Hagler, who also serves on the town’s personnel committee, told the board the personnel committee wanted some direction about when and where to advertise the position, which was vacated earlier this year when the council voted to terminate the contract of then-administrator Joel Davis less than six months after he was hired.
Hagler also said the committee would like to get more feedback in terms of contracting options for the position.
Councilman Michael Hart suggested working with COG, which aided in the search that produced Davis last year.
“I don’t believe that there is anyone on council or on staff to properly vet someone of that nature,” Hart said. “There’s a lot of work that goes into that.
“The comment that I got from COG was that they were not as involved as they typically are. For example, the last few interviews we had here, they would like to have been involved in those, in addition to helping with contracts.”
While he did not elaborate, Hagler said a new administrator’s contract would look different than that offered to Davis.
“We would not accept a contract like that again, and obviously there would be some kind of probationary period,” he said.
Council hoped to get more information at its May meeting about the process moving forward and talk more specifically about what the cost to the town would be if working with COG as opposed to another agency.
• Contact editor Jonathan E. Coleman: 704-789-9105.