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Construction Of New Park Set To Begin Where Vance Hotel Once Stood

Plans for construction of a park near downtown Henderson have been in the works for a couple of years, but Henderson City Manager Terrell Blackmon said this week that materials have been delivered and a ground-breaking ceremony will be held “in the near future.”

Among the features are a skate park and bike park, a splash pad and outdoor exercise and fitness stations, as well as a picnic shelter and walking trail. Blackmon said the park will be constructed in phases, unless some state grant funding comes through.

“We are a finalist for a state PARTF grant,” Blackmon told WIZS News. If the matching grant is awarded, the project could be completed in its entirety, he noted. PARTF stands for Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.

“Materials for the Williams/Montgomery park were delivered last week. Preparation should begin within the next couple of weeks with grading of the property,” Blackmon said.

A representative from the state recreation commission made a pre-award site visit recently in advance of its August meeting. “Staff is hopeful the city will receive a grant that will allow for the development of the entire park rather than having to phase the park,” Blackmon said.

The proposed site of the park is at the corner of Williams Street and Montgomery Street, where the former Vance Hotel stood. The hotel burned in the 1980’s and the property has remained empty since then.

Police Department One Step Closer To Body-Worn Cameras, If Grant Comes Through

The Henderson City Council has given the go-ahead for a couple of requests for grant funding to equip police officers with body cams and law enforcement cruisers with additional cameras.

At its July 12 meeting, council members approved grant proposals that Police Chief Marcus Barrow and staff have prepared. “Our officers have been asking for them for several years,” Barrow told WIZS News Thursday. He said if the application is approved, it will provide half the money needed to equip the officers with body-worn cameras. “We are seeking a grant that has a 50 percent match. The match funds would come from asset forfeiture funds or state treasury funds, which both are only used by law enforcement,” he added.

Barrow said his department does have some in-car cameras now, but so far, no body cams. “The cost to outfit an agency our size has been prohibitive in the past and we felt that this was an opportunity to seize assistance,” he said. The cost lies mainly with data storage, not in the camera itself, he explained, adding that many law enforcement agencies are faced with a similar challenge. All data should be kept for at least 90 days, he said, but tagged information may need to be kept forever.

If the department does get the grant funding for $48,958, the chief said it would set into motion additional regulations and policies for the department to follow. “I am sure there will be some growing pains associated with the use of body cameras,” Barrow said, “but we will educate and train the use to be muscle memory for the officers and use corrective action for any misuse.”

City Manager Terrell Blackmon said since the police department is an accredited department through the Commission for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), “Chief Barrow has taken the time to develop standards for our officers based on best practices from around the country and from our accrediting agency.”

“I’ve always stood by my position that we would not introduce this product unless and until we could afford to properly apply it,” Barrow added.

The second grant for $21,599 is for purchase of three WatchGuard Video Camera systems and does not require matching local funds and would be shared with the Vance County Sheriff’s Office, according to information from the city council agenda. The city would get almost $13,000 and the county would get just over $8,600.

Fire Safety; Fire Budget; New Henderson Fire Station

The airwaves these days may be filled with news of COVID-19 vaccinations, politics and the economy, which means more mundane topics such as fire safety can get pushed out of the spotlight. But Henderson City Fire Chief Steve Cordell urges everyone to continue to be mindful of potential fire hazards, especially during the cold winter months.

Be careful with any supplemental heat source, Cordell said in an interview on Wednesday. Make sure that they are UL-approved, and make sure that those space heaters or kerosene heaters have at least a 36-inch clearance on all sides. And please do not use your stove or oven to heat your home, he stressed. “There are programs…to assist you,” Cordell said. “I encourage folks to reach out if you need assistance with heating.”

If your smoke detector is making that annoying chirp that indicates it needs a new battery, he said, there is help for that, too. “We tell people to give their battery a birthday,” Cordell said. Change the battery every six months, such as when the time changes in November and in April. “If you have a battery that is bad, that’s what we’re here for,” he noted. At this time, because of COVID-19 restrictions, city residents must schedule an appointment for city fire personnel to come to their home to change that battery or perform a home safety inspection.

Cordell said city residents should call Capt. Lee Edmonds, fire prevention coordinator, at 252.432.5108 or 252.438.7315 to make an appointment.

The pandemic has “really affected our message on the public safety side of our department and education…(and) definitely hindered what we do normally, on a day-to-day basis,” Cordell said, adding that their work with school children is what they may miss most, from reading with kindergartners and being mentors, to playing Dodge Ball or Duck, Duck, Goose with the younger students, he said. “Just seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces, we miss it,” Cordell said. Even the annual fire prevention campaign in the schools looked different in 2020. Instead of going into schools to talk about fire safety, the fire department had to deliver packets of information instead. Cordell said teachers got instructions on how to go over the materials provided.

Fire safety and prevention are priorities for Cordell and his staff, which has grown by 6 in the last year. The city budget allowed for 6 additional staff for the city fire department, which Cordell said came about after completion in 2020 of a study to assess needs. Those six additional hires allowed, for the first time ever, his department to fully staff two engines and a ladder company.

He is currently compiling budget information to present to the city manager and the city council that he hopes will result in progress toward the addition of a third fire station situated on the west side of the city. A third station “will give us better response time. We are providing great coverage throughout the city,” he said, but noted that there is “major growth” on the west side of Henderson. “When things start developing, you have to prepare for that in all aspects,” Cordell added, from sanitation to street maintenance to water and sewer and public safety, including, of course, fire departments.

The city fire department is staffed at sufficient levels during the pandemic, and Cordell said he has had his first dose of the vaccine. “We’re doing our very best to stay safe on calls and in the station,” he said. He encourages everyone in the community to be vaccinated, his fellow firefighters included. “Our job as first responders is to take care of the public,” he said.

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City of Henderson Loose Leaf Collection Extended to Jan 29

— from the City of Henderson

The City of Henderson has extended the Loose Leaf Collection season through January 29, 2021. As a reminder, please note that rows or piles of loose leaves or pine straw shall:

  1. Be placed behind the curb not to interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic
  2. Not to be placed in an open ditch, gutter or street area as this can interfere with the City’s storm drainage system
  3. Be free of trash and debris such as glass, cans, rocks, limb cuttings, etc. as they may damage collection equipment
  4. Not be placed on top of your water meter

If you have any questions, please contact the Public Works Department at 252-431-6115 or 252-431-6030.

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Henderson City Council Regular Meeting Monday, January 11

Henderson City Council Regular Meeting scheduled for Monday, January 11.  Click here for AGENDA.

Henderson City Council Scheduled Regular Meeting
Monday, 11 January 2021
6:00 PM
City Hall Council Chambers, 134 Rose Ave., Henderson, NC 27536

Due to COVID-19 health mandates issued by Governor Cooper, the number of citizens allowed into Council Chambers is limited.  However, members of the community are strongly encouraged to provide questions/comments for Council in writing as follows and to listen via Zoom:

Written Comments:

  1. Email written comments to:
  2. Emails received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting will be read aloud at the meeting.  Comments are limited to 3-minutes per person.


City of Henderson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: City Council Meeting

Time: Jan 11, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 852 5054 3071

Passcode: 346554

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Henderson’s Sanitation Schedule for Christmas, New Year’s Holiday

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-Information courtesy the City of Henderson

Henderson’s sanitation schedule for the upcoming Christmas and New Year holiday will be as follows:

Green For Life (GFL), formerly Waste Industries, will be CLOSED Friday, December 25, and will collect Friday customers on Saturday, December 26.

GFL will be CLOSED on Friday, January 1, and will collect Friday Customers on Saturday, January 2.

GFL will also send out calls to let customers know the schedule change.

Christmas Week – Recycle Week

Monday, December 21  – Monday and Tuesday Route

Tuesday, December 22– Wednesday and Thursday Route

Wednesday, December 23 – Friday Route

Thursday, December 24– Holiday No Work

Friday, December 25– Holiday No Work

GFL (Waste Industries) will be CLOSED on Friday, December 25 and will collect Friday customers on Saturday, December 26.

New Year’s Week – Non-Recycle Week (Yard Debris Only)

Monday, December 28  – Holiday No Work

Tuesday, December 29 – Monday and Tuesday Route

Wednesday, December 30 – Wednesday and Thursday Route

Thursday, December 31 – Friday Route

Friday, January 1 – Holiday No Work

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City Council to Amend Zoning Ordinances, Reject Beckford Dr. Widening

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-Information courtesy the City of Henderson

The Henderson City Council will meet on Monday, December 14, 2020, at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 134 Rose Ave. in Henderson, NC.

Due to COVID-19 health mandates issued by Governor Cooper, the number of citizens allowed into Council Chambers is limited. However, members of the community are strongly encouraged to provide questions/comments for Council in writing as follows and to listen via Zoom:

Written Comments:

  1. Email written comments to
  2. Emails received by 3 p.m. the day of the meeting will be read aloud at the meeting. Comments are limited to three minutes per person.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 842 9975 0616

Passcode: 124394

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,84299750616#,,,,,,0#,,124394# US (Washington D.C)

+13126266799,,84299750616#,,,,,,0#,,124394# US (Chicago)

Agenda Items Include:

Amending the Zoning Ordinance by Defining and Adding Indoor Farming as a Use.

Amending the Zoning Ordinance by Increasing the Density within the R-6 and R-8 Zoning Districts.

Providing for the Disposition of Jointly Owned Properties by the City and County Identified as Andrews Avenue, Recorded in Vance County Tax Deed Book 1275, Page 988, Further Identified as PIN #0079 03036 and 0 East Avenue, Recorded in Vance County Tax Deed Book 1275, Page 985, Further Identified as PIN #0079 03038.

Directing the Code Compliance Director to Remove or Demolish the following Structures for Failure to Comply with Abandoned Structure Code (Chapter 21A):

  • 413 Brick Street
  • 926 Champion Street
  • 113 Main Street
  • 413 East Rockspring Street
  • 842/846 Vaughan Street

Awarding the CARES Act Improvements Project to Yes Real Estate Construction Group for Division 1 and 2, and H.G. Reynolds for Division 3.

Rejection of the Beckford Drive Widening Project U-4916.

Awarding Department Handgun and Badge to Retiree Captain Steven T. Vaughn.

Authorizing the Acceptance of Grant Funding from the US Department of Justice BJA Local Law Enforcement Crime Gun Intelligence Center Integration Initiative.

Adopting a Title VI Policy for the City of Henderson, North Carolina to Prohibit Discrimination in Programs and Services and Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance.

Click here to view previous and current Henderson City Council meeting agendas and minutes.

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City of Henderson’s Response to COVID, Homicides Topics of Public Safety Meeting


Henderson City Council’s Public Safety Committee met Thursday, December 3, 2020, to discuss the City’s handling of COVID-19 and recent homicides.

Henderson City Councilman Jason Spriggs provided the following statement to WIZS News:

“Overall, there was agreement among all attendees that the City and its leaders have taken a sincere approach to informing the citizens of Henderson about the seriousness of the Coronavirus. I have to say that Mayor Pro Tem Sara Coffey was adamant about ensuring every citizen was clear about the proper precautions. Mayor Eddie Ellington, Manager Terrell Blackmon and Lisa Harrison of Granville Vance Public Health were in agreement that a continued approach to informing and educating the citizens of Henderson, concerning COVID-19, would be a helpful supplement to all of the various information that has been made available through various channels, specifically WIZS and the various public Facebook pages maintained by GVPH, Henderson Rec and Parks Department, the Henderson Police Department and fire departments. The mayor pointed out the various COVID testing opportunities, public messages and public actions.”

Spriggs continued, “Concerning the homicides, Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow highlighted the HPDs continued work with local and state authorities. He specifically stated that in his 22-years of service with the City, he has not seen a greater period of collaboration among law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels. Chief Barrow did note that the majority of the unfortunate homicides were not connected to one another and that because of increased community assistance, those homicides have consistently yielded arrests.”

Fellow Henderson City Councilman William Burnette concurred with the meeting’s outcome:

“There was a very lengthy conversation about COVID. Lisa Harrison with the Health Department joined via Zoom. She gave updated information on Vance County. We did have a conversation with Chief Barrow about the measures the police were taking to deal with the homicides. The ones responsible have been arrested and are awaiting trial.”

Downtown Henderson

City of Henderson Updates: Downtown Christmas Lights, Urban Redevelopment

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Henderson City Manager E. Terrell Blackmon provided the following updates to WIZS News:

The Downtown Henderson Christmas lights/decorations will be put up this week. Blackmon said the City’s goal was always for the lights to be up by the first week in December.

The City’s urban redevelopment meeting held Nov. 30 via Zoom began with a quick recap of the previous meeting on this matter. The purpose of Monday’s meeting was for UNC’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI) to give an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the Redevelopment Commission and provide recommendations on the composition of members for the commission.

The City also reviewed draft Urban Redevelopment Area (URA) boundaries and goals. No official actions were taken at the meeting. The Henderson City Council will revisit this matter in a work session at their December 14 meeting.

The City is still in Phase I of the process, but according to Blackmon, the next steps include:

  • Establish Redevelopment Commission by resolution
  • Confirm URA boundaries
  • Planning Board qualifies URA
  • City Council passes resolution confirming Planning Board’s findings and URA boundaries
  • Public hearing required
  • File resolution with Secretary of State
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City Council, NC School of Govt. to Discuss Urban Redevelopment

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-Information courtesy the City of Henderson

On November 30, 2020, members of the Henderson City Council will hold a brief meeting with individuals from the North Carolina School of Government regarding the selection process for the Urban Redevelopment Commission.

This meeting will be held at 5 p.m. via Zoom. Council members may participate from home, work or in Council Chambers. The Zoom information will be posted on the City’s website no later than 12 p.m. on November 30.

It is possible a quorum of Council members will attend this meeting; however, no action will be taken.