darts and laurels
Laurels to the healthy attendance at the Transportation Summit held Wednesday at the Rowan Agricultural Center. The summit was full of doom and gloom about scarce state funds and the out-of-kilter formula for distributing highway funds, but it was still helpful for city and county officials and legislators to get a full briefing from people who have the facts. Now everyone will be ó if not on the same page ó at least in the same book. Salisbury city government and Rowan County operate as separate entities, but they have many mutual concerns, and transportation is high on that list. The condition of the Yadkin River bridge concerns everyone, and improvements to the Rowan County Airport could bring widespread benefits through economic development.
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That said, dart to the challenge of making the Rowan Airport more attractive to industries that might park their planes there ó a challenge Rowan and Salisbury must take up. The airport’s runway is 5,500 feet long, which is longer than the minimum 5,000 feet for the type of aircraft the county would like to attract. But companies that do business in Europe and Mexico typically have bigger jets that need more length ó like the 7,400-foot runway at the Concord Airport. It was sobering to learn at the summit how much patience, persistence and local money other communities have had to invest in improving their now highly successful airports. Extending the Rowan runway 1,000 feet could cost $20 million. Fortunately, other improvements on the drawing board cost much less and should get some state support. This process will take a long time, but if Rowan doesn’t catch up, it will be ó in the words of one transportation official ó “like the town that didn’t get a railroad station or that I-85 bypassed.”
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Laurels to the new building planned at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in Salisbury. The two-story, 38,000-square-foot classroom building will become the campus’ new gateway, and the design certainly communicates that. The raised, curving metal roof over the main entry seems to soar and will stand out among the campus’ existing structures. It also is more in keeping with the importance of Rowan-Cabarrus to the community.