HICKORY, NC - “E” Avenue in Hickory is the subject of controversy, and two business owners are on either side of the issue.
John Moretz is renovating the Moretz Mills building. The street in question runs alongside the historic structure, and he has asked the City of Hickory to close the street.
"Over half to 60 percent of the patrons that are on that ground level are all elderly and many of them will be expecting-mothers,” said Moretz. “So, we want make that very accessible. So all that parking will be next to the building so they don't have to cross a road, don't have to cross any traffic area or a walkway where traffic will be coming through."
Catawba Paper Box sits at the end of “E” Avenue and its trucks use the road for access to the loading dock.
Skipper Smith, owner, Catawba Paper Box, commented, "For the past three generations, those motor-freight trucks have taken one turn off LR Boulevard. Gone one block where "E" Avenue terminates into our parking lot, facing both our loading dock and our signage."
Moretz says the roads in the area don’t meet current codes and he has a solution, close “E” and bring nearby “F” Avenue up to code.
"I bought two sets of property across the street that I'll give to the city and pay whatever is needed,” said Moretz. “It's 150 yards down from "E." To make this the best it can be, the "E" Avenue needs to close with no harm to Skipper or anybody else. I wouldn’t do that to him or anybody for a benefit here to hurt somebody else there."
Catawba Paper Box is not in favor of using “F” Avenue.
"Soon as you turn off LR Boulevard, it's got a steep dip where tractor trailers could easily bottom out. Then at the top of the hill, another difficult turn. Two difficult turns in all. We don't have good visibility. It's just not a good choice. Fact is, I describe it as a pretty miserable road."
A decision on whether to close the street was expected at Monday night’s City Council meeting, but was postponed. The vote is now expected March 18, 2014.