SMITHFIELD—City Council voted Wednesday to renew the city’s franchise agreement with Comcast for an additional 10 years. The previous contract was for 15 years, but this time around the council felt a shorter contract would be in the city’s best interest.
“With technology changing as much as it does, many cities have elected to go to a 10-year contract in case there are big changes in the near future,” city manager James Gass said.
The contract allows Comcast to operate cables with in the city’s right of way and is non-exclusive.
Connie Crowshaw came before the council to ask “for a thumbs-up to move forward” with her plans of an antique and one-of-a-kind shop called Red Hen Mercantile, located on Center Street across from Pioneer Park.
“To some people this building is an eyesore, but to me it’s a gem. I want to save this building,” Crowshaw said of the old seed and grain building she is restoring for her store.
Crowshaw asked the council to assist her in this effort by allowing her to lease some of the land that is currently city property by the front steps and on the South side of the building. In order to open her doors for business, Crowshaw must also install a curb, gutter and sidewalk, to which she also looked to the council for help. In return for their financial help with this project, Crowshaw said she would allow those attending ball games at Forester Acres to use her parking lot.
Councilman Dennis Watkins challenged Crowshaw’s request, saying, “If we say yes and fund you it opens precedence for everyone else to ask for the same thing. Whatever we do will be binding on the council 20 years from now.”
Mayor Chad Downs said, “We’re supportive of your project, but we’ll have to consider how much we can offer.” The council agreed they would be willing to consider Crowshaw’s requests with more information on costs.
The council also approved development of the final plat for Ridgeview subdivision, located at 620 North and 570 East, and honored former mayor Lonnie Loveday for his work with the recreation program.