Chatham County notes: Agri-Civic Cener designed approved

October 4, 2013 

Planned design of Agri-Civic Center, south perspective.


Agri-Civic Center design approved

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners have approved a schematic design of the new County Agri-Civic Center that is proposed for a site just west of Central Carolina Community College’s Pittsboro campus on U.S. 64.

Hobbs Architects, PA presented a design last month for the approximately 32,500-square-foot building that includes approximately 6,000 square feet of exhibit hall space and a large stage. The exhibit hall would seat 400 people around tables and 800 people theater style. The facility includes a large catering kitchen.

The exhibit hall takes up the mid-section of the Agri-Civic Center and can be subdivided. An additional 1,500 square feet of meeting space in the east wing also can be subdivided into three smaller spaces. A large lobby entry area can be used for registration and receptions.

The west wing of the building is primarily office space for Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation, Forestry Service and the Farm Services Agency. This area would include a small conference room and kitchen classroom.

The building would be one-story with high ceilings for the foyer and exhibit hall area.

Construction is expected to begin May 2014 and should be complete by September 2015. The estimated project cost is approximately $11.5 million.

Chatham County has already set aside funds to pay the debt service on a loan to build the Ag Center, with no tax increase required.

Celebrate the Day of the Dead

The Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County with will host a Dia de los Muertos altar from Oct. 19 to Nov. 9.

The opening of the exhibit will be kicked off with a fun-filled Day of the Dead workshop for adults and school aged children from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday Oct. 19, Participants will learn about the holiday and make Calaveras (sugar skulls) and other artisnal crafts.

Then, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 1, the Liaison will hold small reception at the Income Development Center at 124 N. Chatham Ave. in downtown Siler City that will feature traditional foods, the Liaison’s altar and a complementary community altar, assembled with sugar skulls and artisnal paper garlands made by attendees of the Liaison’s Oct. 19 workshop.

Attendees at the Nov. 1 exhibit reception will also have the opportunity to learn about the different ways the holiday is celebrated across Latin America and write their own Calavera poems. Calavera poems are satirical poems that poke fun at people in a way that suggests they’re dead, even though they’re alive.

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead is a cherished tradition where the deceased are honored and enticed to visit the living with marigold-decked altars and offerings of food. Celebrated in Mexico and parts of Central America, it is a cheerful celebration of the continuum of life.

Typically, families build altars on the days leading up to Nov. 1. On top of the altar, offerings are laid out for the dead known as ofrendain Spanish. These items include food, marigold flowers, art pieces, candles and incense.

“Day of the Dead is a time for communities to come together and celebrate the continuum of life in diverse ways,” said Eric Jonas, Interim Exective Director. “It will be an opportunity for us to share an important piece of cultural and artistic heritage.”

The workshop will cost $6 per person. Make reservations at The exhibit will be free and open to the public.

Hearing set on housing funds

The Chatham County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Oct. 21 in the Historic Courthouse in Pittsboro on broadening the uses of affordable housing funds from compact community developers.

The proposed amendment affects the section of the ordinance related to compact communities either providing housing for low and moderate income residents or using the option to provide payments to Chatham County for affordable housing needs.

The proposed amendments would add the following programs and facilities that that could be funded under this section of the ordinance:

• Those serving victims of domestic violence and abuse;

• Those serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and

• Those designed to meet the needs of low to moderate income residents.

The ordinance was amended in 2012 to clarify that compact communities had the option to give money to Chatham County instead of constructing affordable housing in their communities. This amendment further details how the county could use those funds to meet local needs.

Residents can sign up for the hearing at the beginning of the meeting or in advance by completing the form found at: or send an email to:

County seeks school bus drivers

Chatham County Schools will be holding its next Bus Driver Training session Nov. 12-14.

Anyone interested in driving a bus for Chatham County Schools should contact Allison Farrish in the Chatham County Schools Transportation Department at 919-542-2715.

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