$500K grant accepted for Tart Park

Groups honored; public housing to get Dunn officer


The Dunn City Council voted to accept a grant for $500,000 from the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for improvements to Tart Park during the board’s regular meeting Tuesday night.

The grant requires no match. The money was included in this year’s state budget.

Dunn has already received a PARTF, or Parks and Recreational Trust Fund, grant for $375,000 with a city commitment of an additional $375,000. This brings the money for the phase one upgrades to Tart Park to $1.25 million.

“We want to thank Rep. Davis Lewis for making sure this $500,000 was in the budget for his hometown,” Mayor Oscar Harris said. “That puts us in great shape to move forward with Tart Park. We really want a state-of-the-art park.”

  • Dunn will now have a police officer in public housing.
  • There are four housing units in the Dunn Public Housing and the authority will pay the city $3,000 a month for an officer who will have a substation in one of the offices. They will have to work 25 hours a week in public housing and the rest doing other policing for the city. The officer will receive special training on community policing, gang recognition and domestic violence. As an added bonus, the officer can have an apartment under the Dunn Housing Authority ownership rent free.

    “I think it’s going to be good for all our citizens,” Mayor Harris said.

  • The city council honored local veterans organizations for Veterans Day and recognized the Dunn Majors 12 and under baseball team which went on to become the Dixie Youth state champions and place third place in the World Series.
  • Also during the meeting, Mayor Harris updated those attending on the health of Dunn Council member Billy Barfield who underwent brain surgery. He said Mr. Barfield is now at Cornerstone Nursing Home in Dunn. His family said he welcomes visitors, although he sleeps a lot.

    “He has his good days and bad days. Keep Billy and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” Mayor Harris said.

  • New employees were recognized and those include Matthew Boone, assistant to the city manager; Marilia Wimberly, library program specialist; Trae Gonzales and Apelles Hart, police officers; Justin Griffin, meter technician; and Matthew Hall, cemetery maintenance worker.
  • Janie Robinson, pastor of St. Stephens Christian Church located at 206 S. Sampson Ave., spoke. She said her fellowship hall and the area in which the church is located has flooded twice in two years. She said St. Stephens, founded in 1908, is a historic landmark. She encouraged council members to schedule a visit to the church and look at infrastructure needs in the Sampson Avenue and Divine Street area.
  • A request to add church as a use in the I-10 industrial district was denied. The request was prompted by the Rev. Barbara Campbell’s inquiry into starting a church at 506 N. McKay St. which is in an industrial district.

    Mayor Harris said it was gone about the wrong way and it should be a conditional use request instead of changing the ordinance.

    “We want to help her, let’s start over,” Mayor Harris said.

    Mayor Harris and council member Buddy Maness both said there was a reason there are industrial zones and that churches don’t fit in that use.

    At Mr. Maness’ suggestion, Rev. Campbell will not have to pay a second set of fees if she seeks a conditional use permit.

    “She shouldn’t have to pay for an application fee ... to start the process over again,” he said.

  • The council voted to enter into an agreement with N.C. Department of Transportation to clean up Hurricane Florence debris on state roads and to get repaid by FEMA.

    Council member Chuck Turnage said following Hurricane Fran it took years to get repaid by FEMA and he hoped the process was better now. However, Mayor Harris said the town will get the debris picked up much faster than DOT will.

  • Road improvements are delayed in Dunn because contractors are working on damage from Hurricane Florence. Bids will go out again after the first of the year.
  • The council voted to approve $20,000 in contributions to the following nonprofits: DUMA food pantry, $5,000; Dunn Area History Museum, $10,000; Harnett Regional Theatre, $5,000; and Special Olympics of Harnett County, $2,500.

    Council member Dr. Gwen McNeill voted against it saying she thought $10,000 was too much for the museum. She said it was OK last year while the museum was just starting, but not now.

  • Mayor Harris said it was important that council members “make sure we protect the heritage of Dunn.”
  • The council adopted a resolution designating that trick-or-treating take place Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. for children younger than 13. If you don’t want trick-or-treaters, turn your porch light off.
  • The council proclaimed Oct. 21-27 as National Friends of Libraries Week.
  • The council approved street closures for the Cotton Festival which will be Saturday, Nov. 3, and approved street closures for the Dunn Christmas tree lighting Thursday, Nov. 29.
  • Gerald Blake with Daystar Tabernacle Church gave the invocation.


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