Pinehurst denies Golf Channel request to close downtown to traffic

PINEHURST – The Village of Pinehurst Council met Tuesday, Jan. 16 as a continuation from the prior week’s weather-delayed meeting.

The USGA and Golf Channel sought to create a temporary pedestrian-only district in downtown Pinehurst to anchor its US Open broadcast, a decision the council would have to approve — but with local businesses most affected, they had a lot to say.

“The USGA approached the Village and asked us if we would be interested in accommodating the Golf Channel’s request,” said Doug Willardson. “I reached out to all of our downtown business community and I had 39 responses, 22 of which said they were not interested in closing the downtown area from vehicle traffic and creating a pedestrian-only district. As such, I recommend that we do not move forward with that request.”

According to Willardson, if the request is denied, the Golf Channel will broadcast from the golf course, as has been done in previous tournaments.

The council denied the request, and Pinehurst will remain as normal during the tournament.

“It’s in the best interest of our residents, visitors and certainly shopkeepers downtown that our streets remain open during the course of the US Open,” Mayor Pat Pizzella noted. “Particularly for all the visitors we have coming here and all those shopkeepers that hope to experience a nice increase in traffic to their businesses whether it be retail or restaurant.”

The timeline for the new library project was updated:

“It will be six months from whenever we finalize all the details on the cost of what we want to spend until we’re moving dirt,” Willardson said. “So between finishing the construction plans, bidding them out and working out the negotiations and the contract with the contractor, that will take six months. It will probably be at least 12 months of actual construction.”

The council also dealt with a few appointments, including filling vacant seat on the Village council. Jack Farrell took his oath as the newest member:

“I’d like to thank the council for their confidence in me and for the opportunity to be able to help out for the next couple of years,” Farrell said. “I appreciate it very much and I will do my best to make sure I don’t disappoint.”

Farrell fills the vacant seat left by Pat Pizzella due to the latter’s election to the position of mayor.

The council approved the reappointments of Matt Jones to the Planning & Zoning Board and Board of Adjustments and the appointment of Terry Lutz as the Neighborhood Advisory Committee representative for the Linden Road West area.

The Village of Pinehurst Council will next meet Jan. 23.

By Ryan Henkel

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