Bermuda Run council discusses other options for Beaufurn

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 21, 2019

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New interchange project moving forward

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

Maybe there are other options for Beaufurn, a furniture manufacturing company, if things don’t work out for its long-anticipated move to Tanglewood Business Park.

One of the Bermuda Run Town Council members asked the town manager about the fate of the park and Beaufurn, the first and only company that has signed on to locate there, in last Tuesday night’s meeting. This came the night after the Clemmons Village Council voted unanimously not to financially support the Tanglewood Business Park project as currently planned.

“According to what takes place with the Forsyth County commissioners and if they make up the difference from what was asked from Clemmons for incentives, there is an out clause for Beaufurn,” said Lee Rollins, Bermuda Run’s town manager. “That’s all I really know.”

Two days later, the Forsyth County commissioners decided to postpone a decision on the park, saying the county attorney needed to get an answer to at least one specific question that was asked in closed session — meaning Beaufurn, which has outgrown its current facility in Bermuda Run, will have to wait longer to get answers (including having a road and access to its site) about the move.

“We have approached Beaufurn in the last year to try to find a way for them to stay in Bermuda Run or Davie County, Mocksville as well, and have shown them multiple options,” Rollins said. “We’d love to keep them in Davie County.”

Also in the meeting, Rollins provided some positive news regarding transportation projects, as the new interchange at Baltimore Road to I-40 has shifted to the fast lane, much to the delight of Bermuda Run and undoubtedly Davie County officials.

“That project has been moved up to the point that last week our conference room hosted a couple of meetings with DOT officials and property owners regarding right-of-way acquisition,” Town Manager Lee Rollins said during last Tuesday night’s Bermuda Run Town Council meeting of the 2023 timetable. “So that is really moving along.”

The town announced last September that it had assigned all of its points for the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s prioritization and point-assignment process toward the interchange project, joining Davie County in the effort. That pushed it from a ranking of No. 38 on the previous year’s list to No. 7.

This supports a study by Kimley-Horn in 2016 that recommends an interchange on I-40 between Exit 180 (N.C. 801) and Exit 174 (Farmington Road) to help accommodate industrial traffic, primarily generated from the Ashley Furniture distribution center.

“This all goes through the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP),” Rollins said. “We worked with the county and put all our points outside because of all the traffic issues. We thought it was a no-brainer for everybody.

“The interchange at Baltimore Road is critical to us because all that property back to the Food Lion shopping center is zoned General Business. If we get that interchange solidified, then I think that will be a game-changer for us.”

In other road matters, Rollins said that as the town looks to the completion of the I-40 widening project in 2020, it will continue to have conversations with DOT regarding the U.S. 158/N.C. 801 intersection and “finding ways in which we can do low-cost, high-impact striping to allow for additional lanes to move through those intersections, which is not only important for the town but for the county.”

He added that there will be a meeting this week with DOT on two proposed new entrances to Kinderton Business Park. He said he will provide an update in the April meeting regarding the sidewalk project along Yadkin Valley Road that will allow Kinderton Village residents to connect over to Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center without even having to get into a vehicle.

In other business, the council adopted a capital project ordinance, which will provide authority to receive and expend funds dedicated to the construction of the Blue Heron Trail.

“This has been a long time in coming,” Rollins said of the project, which consists of Phase ! of the trail as approved for funding by the Winston-Salem Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The $2 million-plus price tag includes $1,554,342 from Surface Transportation Direct Attributable (STP-DA) funding and a local match of $533,852.

In another business agenda item, the council voted unanimously to approve a resolution in support of the current ABC control system.

The Triad ABC Board, of which Bermuda Run is a member, adopted a resolution on Feb. 22 that supports the current system. Rollins said that there have been conversations within the General Assembly to privatize outlets for the sale of spirituous liquors.

Rollins said that the town received a little over $130,000 in revenues through the Triad ABC Commission last year, but much of that sum would go away if privatization went into effect.

Mayor Ken Rethmeier said if this took place, those tax revenues would go into the general sales tax pot and distributed to the counties on the basis of how they do other sales tax.

“In our case, because the county commissioners chose to ratchet down our share of the annual sales tax, this would have a significant effect financially on the town due to the loss of the majority of those $130,000,” Rethmeier said.

Also in the meeting, Tom Shapard, the recently appointed director of sales and marketing at the Hampton Inn in Bermuda Run, was appointed to a seat on the Tourism Development Board.