Mountain Biking

Mountain biking, hiking trail could be on tap for Catawba Meadows – Morganton News Herald


Mountain biking, hiking trail could be on tap for Catawba Meadows

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The orange line shows a proposed mountain biking and hiking trail at Catawba Meadows Park.

Photo courtesy city of Morganton

Chrissy Murphy

Morganton residents soon may have another opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors within city limits if a memorandum of agreement is approved by council members Monday night.

Council members will consider a memorandum of agreement between the city, Foothills Land Conservancy and Overmountain Cycles to construct a 4-mile-long mountain biking and hiking trail at Catawba Meadows Park, according to information from the city.

The trail has been included in the park’s masterplan, and Foothills Land Conservancy was awarded a $100,000 NC Trails Grant to develop the trail. The city and FLC have coordinated with Overmountain Cycles to coordinate the design of the trail and its maintenance, the city said.

Also to be considered by the council Monday night is the replacement of some equipment for CoMPAS.

The city said internet bandwidth usage has increased to the point that it is time to replace the cable modem termination system for CoMPAS. It’s a device that allows cable television operators to provide high-speed internet access to computers, the city said.

Residential internet customer currently can get 250 mbps downstream, but if the new system is purchased, CoMPAS would be able to offer speeds of up to 1 gbps, the city said.

If approved, the contract to purchase the equipment caps the price of it at no more than $497,720.06, the city said.

At the council’s September meeting, community development block grants were awarded to several area nonprofits, but the city said it inadvertently excluded a request from Options Inc.

Options had requested $3,900 to replace blinds throughout the shelter and replace the microwave, the city said.

The CDBG committee had designated the funds for the request, but it was accidentally omitted from the list of funds to award at September’s meeting.

Council members may also choose to create an ordinance to address open burning at Monday night’s meeting.

Information from the city said the Morganton Department of Public Safety has had multiple situations recently with open burning on private property that have created issues up to and including threats to public health and safety.

MDPS Chief Tony Lowdermilk, Capt. Israel Gibson and City Attorney Louis Vinay worked together to draft an ordinance that would define open burning, require burning permits from MDPS in some instances, regulate burning for land clearing, declare some exceptions and establish fines for violations.

If approved, the ordinance would require permits be issued for all open burning, or any fire intentionally set or maintained outside the confines of a building, fireplace, pit or similar structure.

No open burning will be permitted when the materials to be burned could be taken to an accessible location for the city’s public works department to pick up.

Permits also would be required for bonfires, or any purposely constructed fire for religious or ceremonial purpose with a base larger than 2 feet by 2 feet but not larger than 5 feet by 5 feet.

Permits also must be obtained for land clearing purposes and for training fires. Permits would not be required for open fires for cooking or heating, or religious or ceremonial purposes as long as:

  • The fires are not composed of leaves, grass or yard waste;
  • The smoke and fumes don’t irritate others who are not on the property where the fire is being burned;
  • The fire is contained in a campfire pit or a container designed for such purpose; and,
  • The fire follows North Carolina fire prevention code.

Initial violations of the ordinance would result in a fine of $100, and repeat offenses would land a person a $200 fine.

Also up for discussion Monday night are:

  • Budget amendments in the water fund for reimbursement of water tap improvements on Hogan and West Union streets;
  • Minutes from the council’s September meeting; and,
  • A contract for cleaning services.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Monday in the council chambers at Morganton City Hall on East Union Street.

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at cmurphy@morganton.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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