828 MLK Site Back in Sight With $45 Million Bond Proposal


By Terry E. Cohen

In its quest to replace the current police station at the 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. property with a Municipal Services Center (MSC), the Chapel Hill Town Council will consider a proposal at its Wednesday, Mar. 8, meeting to borrow $45 million via limited obligation bonds to reimburse itself for funds advanced for early project costs.

The Town has been seeking to replace the current building for years, but due to the discovery of coal ash on the premises, the project has hit obstacles. Last May, patches of exposed coal ash were discovered and a proposal to locate housing at the site resulted in the Town holding a public information meeting with North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), with answers to dozens of questions found in an 8-page document posted on the Town’s coal ash remediation project page.

Per a September 13, 2022, memo from Maurice Jones, the former town manager, the council had three options: to build only the MSC, to build the MSC and also pursue private development, or to move forward with the MSC project and leave the door open for other development on the site at a later time. The third option appears to be the course the Town Council is taking at this time.

The council will receive an update from staff at the meeting. Materials for the presentation are found by clicking here, with two of the documents on the “Details” tab. The resolution itself is found by clicking on that same link, then clicking the “Reports” tab, where the link stating “Legislative Details (With Text)” enables a download of the staff request containing the resolution.

In other business on the agenda, the council will consider two rezonings, one at 701 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and another at 101 E. Rosemary St. Also under review is a concept plan for the Aura South Elliott project at 200 S. Elliott Rd. The meeting also includes a staff update on the Greene Tract, a 167-acre site with a large portion jointly owned by the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro along with Orange Country, slated for a combination of preservation and development.

The Town Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Room 110 Council Chambers at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The meeting can also be viewed via live stream and watched by recorded video later by clicking the video link at right on the meeting’s line on the Town Council calendar page.

Terry E. Cohen is the editor of The Local Reporter. She also writes articles for a global media firm on topics related to Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) in business and industry.

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