RIDGEWAY — Town Council unanimously approved the final reading of an ordinance Thursday night that authorizes Mayor Charlene Herring to sign a lease agreement with a prospective tenant of the building located at 140 South Palmer Street.
Councilman Russ Brown stated the the town has agreed in principle to a new tenant, but did not divulge the name of the prospective tenant.
Brown explained that each party had a copy of the contract, but the prospective tenant had not yet signed it.
“They wanted to conference with their attorney first (before signing),” he noted. “We were hoping it would already be done.”
Council said they expected a contract to be finalized this week and any terms and conditions will be disclosed upon acceptance.
First reading of the ordinance was passed at a specially called meeting on July 17.
“Technically, the business doesn’t even have a name yet, but we do have somebody that is interested and once they agree to everything then we can disclose the name,” Brown said on July 17. “We’re trying to do things in a certain time frame and not drag it out.”
The property became available once the Old Town Hall Restaurant owner Vesha Sanders began the process of moving out in the beginning of July.
Brown noted that Sanders had not given the town any notice and legally had until July 19 to move out of the building before breaking the terms of the lease agreement and voiding the contract.
Sanders had originally signed a two-year lease with the town and operated for nearly 18 months in the building.
“They’ve been good renters and have gone by the contract to date,” Brown advised last month.
After an executive session to discuss town property, council passed a motion to accept a bid to renovate part of the Century House property.
Council voted to award Ridgeway construction company M.C. Rowe the project at a cost of $1,200.
In order to protect the town’s interest, council explained the renovation were needed because through-traffic has been using the rear of the Century House property as a turn-around point.
Movies in the Yard
Council recently decided to cancel the movie showing for August. It was planned to show an edited version of Grown Ups 2.
During the public comments portion of Thursday’s council meeting, resident and business owner Dede Ruff spoke about the town’s plans to show movies in the Cotton Yard.
“This is an opportunity for us to work together and to examine who we are as a community and an opportunity to listen to each other,” she said.
Ruff stated that it was also an opportunity for community residents and businesses to help town council lead and build a stronger community.
“We do not have a clear and specific definition of what is a family-friendly movie,” she emphasized. “We found out that family friendly means something different to each one of us.”
Ruff urged council to create a clear and specific definition of what a family friendly movie is.
“We owe you our input and you deserve to hear our voices so that you can make good and informed decisions while you create specific guidelines,” she said.
Ruff continued to urge council to hold several town meetings to seek input from Ridgeway’s businesses and residents.
She also requested that council vote on any movie that would be shown and that council commit to watch the movie before voting.
Ruff acknowledged that her requests would probably slow down the process of showing movies, but believes it would improve the process. She pleaded council to strongly consider future movies.
“Ridgeway is not just showing a movie, it is casting a shadow,” Ruff said. “The movies that you choose — the language, the situations, the behaviors and the culture — is saying to residents and visitors that this is what we permit, this is what we promote and this is what we encourage.”
Councilman Heath Cookendorfer, who spurred the idea of “Movies in the Yard,” advised council that the movie selection process would move to council and away from the Community Actions Committee.
He also noted that selections would fit into a G-rating.
Once two or three movies are picked by council’s majority vote, those selections will be put on the Town of Ridgeway’s Facebook page for a community poll.
Cookendorfer acknowledged that the first selection process did not detail those steps.
“We ran into a timing issue and some of those things were rushed,” he stated. “And sometimes when things are rushed, things get overlooked. So, we’re hoping to eliminate that with this process.”
The Community Actions Committee will still be responsible to facilitate the event and show the movie.