Wednesday, October 27, 2021

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Aldermen go behind closed doors to discuss land purchase for new town hall

Elon’s board of aldermen went into closed session Tuesday night to discuss purchasing property, presumably to construct a new town hall.

Following the two-hour public segment of the board’s agenda-setting meeting, mayor pro tem Davis Montgomery motioned for the board to go into the closed session, noting the reason as consideration of property for “much-needed administrative workspace.”

Located along West Haggard Avenue near its intersection with downtown’s Church Street, the vacant, commercially-zoned property sits at just under an acre and is owned by Eugene and Barbara Page. Elon’s current town hall is situated on 0.7 acres at the corner of West Trollinger and South Williamson avenues.

This lot of just under an acre off West Haggard Avenue (across from a Domino’s Pizza) is being considered as a future location for a new Elon town hall.

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Constructing a new town hall has been under discussion at least since the board’s budget retreat in February, when town manager Richard Roedner explained that the current building has been outgrown by the town’s administration and police department, both of which share the site. If or when a new town hall is built, the manager said earlier this year, the police department would be given the current building.

For her part, police chief Kelly Blackwelder agreed with the manager’s observation in February, telling the board during the retreat that some of her staff share desks or work from their vehicles.

“Their cars are their offices,” Blackwelder said at the time. “But inevitably there needs to be a place for them to come in and package evidence, for them to come in and work on those in-depth criminal investigations, those felony case files, and things like that. We’re at the peak. We have no place to put them.”

Roedner told the board in June that he’d had discussions with property owners who may be open to renting or selling their land, but a new town hall wasn’t penciled into the budget approved that month.

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