Wingate eyes new town hall, police department

Jun. 29, 2013 @ 04:35 PM

The Town of Wingate is looking to secure the funding for their new Town Hall and Police Department building. 

They are holding a series of public meetings to hear questions, concerns and comments. The next meetings will be July 11 and July 16 at 6 p.m. and the Jesse Helms Center.

The new building would cost $3.5 million and would be paid for with a 40-year note from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with 3.5 percent interest. 

Eventually, the town would see rate increases and about a 2.5 cent tax increase to help cover the costs, but Town Manager Patrick Niland said that would not be right away. The first payment on the loan would not be due until a year after the construction is completed and construction would take about a year and a half.

“The police department needs something more than the town hall does and we are outgrowing the town hall,” Niland said. “We had a space-needs study done for police, fire and administration.”

Currently, the town hall is owned by the Jesse Helms Center and the police department is owned by Wingate University. 

Niland said that the fire department needs a new space the most, but that funding would have to come from the county. 

The new building is proposed for 18,000 square feet, though the design will change. It will be located behind the historic buildings on Main Street and the intersection of North Main and Wilson streets.

“It’ll be the most visible investment we’ve made,” Niland said. “This will be one of the most significant things the town has done in the last 20 years.”

The building is part of the downtown study the town completed.

“They really looked at how we can try to start to create a real college downtown,” Niland said. 

They hope to draw college kids off campus to restaurants and shops in Wingate. Wingate University is already planning to move their bookstore off campus, he said. 

Wingate has been working on re-branding the town with new signs, logos and streetscapes.

“We’re trying to do it responsibly, we can’t do it all at once,” Niland said. “It has started to catch on a little bit in the community.”

Streetscape projects will be a part of the new town hall as well. They hope to continue the look with signs and a cohesive look.

If everything goes as planned, the town should receive loan approval in September or October, Niland said. Construction would start about a year after they receive approval.