City won’t close Berry Avenue

Published 12:26 pm Monday, April 16, 2018

Washington’s City Council, during its April 9 meeting, unanimously voted to not close the section of Berry Avenue between West Fifth and Harrington streets. The city’s Planning Board recommended closing that section.

Brad Horton, owner of Athletic Edge Sports and Fitness, sought the closure so he could expand Athletic Edge to better serve its 700 members.

Jim Gardiner, general manager of Compmillennia, which builds highly technical advanced composition vessels, objected to closing Berry Avenue, saying that closing the unpaved street would hinder his plans to expand the boat-building facility. The northern-most section of Berry Avenue is at the rear of the Compmillennia complex at the intersection of Hackney Avenue and Harrington Street.

Horton told the council his expansion plans were immediate, adding that Gardiner’s expansion plans were not immediate. Horton said he was ready to “do something now.” Horton said his desire to expand Athletic Edge was just as important as Gardiner’s aspiration to expand Compmeillennia.

Gardiner said closing that section of Berry Avenue would benefit Horton alone and cause hardship for area residents who use Berry Avenue to access Fifth Street. Gardiner said closing the street likely would result in truck traffic leaving Compmillennia having to travel through a residential area to access Fifth Street.

There are no residences on Berry Avenue from Fifth Street to Harrington Street. Gardiner presented a petition of neighboring property owners who objected to closing the street section.

Thomp Litchfield said Gardiner needs all of Berry Avenue open so Compmillennia can expand without company officials worrying about how big trucks can enter and leave the boat-building compound.

Mayor Mac Hodges suggested Horton and Gardiner try to work out a solution so their respective businesses could expand. That suggestion got little traction during discussion of the matter.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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