Tanglewood Business Park to get $2.4 million in state funding

Published 12:10 am Thursday, February 16, 2023

Item to appear on agenda for today’s Forsyth County commissioners briefing

Remember the Idols Road Industrial Park, which eventually became named the Tanglewood Business Park?
Well, it’s back in the news … and on the agenda for today’s Forsyth County commissioners briefing with a resolution and amendment calling for accepting $2.4 million from the N.C. Department of Commerce that was approved by the General Assembly to fund water and sewer infrastructure improvements at the park.
Mayor Pro Tem Michelle Barson brought up the item in Monday night’s village council meeting regarding the county property, which is off of Idols Road but not in the city limits of Clemmons, in response to an email sent earlier in the day by Mayor Mike Rogers.
“I just wanted to comment on the email you shared with council letting us know that on Thursday the county commissioners will be reviewing a resolution to receive dollars to extend the sewer lines and water to the proposed park,” Barson said in council comments. “I think it’s clear it’s moving forward. There’s been some other signs that we’ve noticed that the park is aggressively being pushed forward, but we have yet to have been contacted from anybody from the county to let us know that things are moving forward or to ask for our help or for any of our community input. I wanted to make sure our community knew now that we know at least that real action will be taking place on Thursday.”
Rogers added: “To piggyback on her comments, she’s correct that we are not in the loop on any of these discussions or been giving any notice as to what is going to occur, when it is going to occur. We’re just going to have to watch their agendas as they pop up.”
What was originally called Idols Road Industrial Park had been in the conceptual stage for quite some time, but first surfaced in Clemmons in 2016 when a county official appeared before the village council to discuss plans to develop the 170-acre tract in the southwestern part of the county. It was noted about many potential obstacles such as roads, water/sewer and zoning issues, but this was the first mention of possibly partnering with Clemmons on the project.
That later led to the county requesting nearly $1.3 million from the village — but with no guarantees that the park would be built to their development standards and concerns remaining about the insufficient infrastructure in place. Clemmons eventually pulled out of any support of the project in June 2018, calling it “an unwise investment for the county and a poor choice for that specific piece of property adjacent to our municipal boundaries.”
Another attempt to reconcile came in March 2019 when both sides revealed some new numbers and information in a special work session called by the council with county representatives coming to village hall.
By this time, the county had shifted the focus from an industrial park to a business park focusing on advanced manufacturing, medical technology, and research and development. However, the commissioners also discussed moving forward with Phase I of the project, but there was no guarantee whether that would happen regardless of Clemmons’ participation.
In the next council meeting, there was a unanimous vote of “no” for any support for Tanglewood Business Park.
As for the agenda item report for today’s county commissioners’ briefing, it states: “Forsyth County has been developing county-owned land off of Idols Road outside the Village of Clemmons with the intention of constructing a business park to increase economic development sites available to businesses in the county. Design, engineering and construction of infrastructure improvements including a sewer lift station and entrance road to Tanglewood Business Park have already been financed by the county through the City/County Utilities Commission, a transfer from the General Fund, and other borrowing proceeds.”
Clemmons officials and residents also were miffed in the summer of 2021 when they didn’t know about a proposed $5 million, 50,000-square-foot event center possibly coming to Tanglewood Park until reading about it in a report in the Winston-Salem Journal.
“How could this have happened without the town of Clemmons not even knowing anything about it?” one resident asked in a council meeting that followed.
Again, Tanglewood Park, like Tanglewood Business Park, isn’t in Clemmons. However, after word got out, and a public meeting was held at the Red Barn in the park where the local community turned out in droves to protest, the county agreed not to build it at Tanglewood.
In another business item on the agenda, the council heard from planner Doug Moore regarding receiving a Safe Streets grant for $120,000. Moore said that this federal transportation grant can be used for safety with the intent to reduce the number of fatalities.
“This really comes at a great time in addition to the pedestrian plan that we’re getting ready to start working on here soon,” he said. “Then we hope to get another transportation plan grant in the very near future that should come through the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization). And then to add this on top of that, dovetail all three of those together, that should help us out a lot with our transportation planning needs.

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:
• Heard from Gary Styers, the new fire chief for the Village of Clemmons, who stopped by to introduce himself after being named to replace longtime chief Jerry Brooks, who retired at the end of 2022. Styers admitted to having “huge shoes” to fill as Brooks served 51 years in the local fire department, including the last 43 as chief. “I think we have the same common goals — to serve our citizens to the best of our ability,” he said.
• Approved budget amendments for the construction of the water line at Public Works, which will be reimbursed from the town’s sewer reserve, and for the receipt of a community garden grant, which will go to individual gardeners in hopes of producing more food to give to the Clemmons Food Pantry.
• Heard from Rogers that the Village of Clemmons will hold a job fair on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at public works. Four positions are currently open — facilities and landscape technician, equipment operator, mechanic and stormwater engineer.
• Approved a quote with Alan Jay Fleet Sales for $60,360 for a pickup truck with service body — with the dealer having the vehicle now — and canceled a previous quote with Cooper Ford for $59,649 since that truck was no longer available to purchase.