Skip to Main Content

Talk of Our Towns 

Downtown Lincolnton church accepts Polished Apple

Freedom Church received the City of Lincolnton Polished Apple Award for the renovation of its downtown building located at 125 E Main Street in December. The building is often referred to by locals as the old Belk building, and prior to the church moving to this location, it housed Main Street Marketplace. City of Lincolnton Mayor John Gilleland and Downtown Development Association Chair Brooke Sherrill presented the award on behalf of the public-private partnership.

The Polished Apple Award is a city-wide recognition program established to recognize and encourage positive community design improvements in the City of Lincolnton. A program of the City of Lincolnton’s Business and Community Development Department, award recipients are selected by a volunteer citizen group and determined based on the established program criteria.

"The Downtown Development Association and our quaint, historic town appreciate the efforts, time and money put forth by Freedom Church to capitalize on our city’s charm," stated Sherrill, current Association Board Chair. "We are excited about the additional finishing touches!"

Freedom Church members in attendance for the presentation shared some of their plans for completing the renovation, including the addition of a permanent sign much like the original Belk Department Store sign.

The Association’s Design work group meets on a monthly basis to review applications and nominations. A property owner may apply or a noteworthy improvement project may be nominated to receive the award. For more information on the Polished Apple Award, contact the City of Lincolnton Business and Community Development department at 704-736- 8915.

Kannapolis employee appointed to federal council

Kannapolis Director of Public Works Wilmer Melton was appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council, a presidentially appointed,federal council. The council provides practical and independent advice to the Environmental Protection Agency on matters and policies related to drinking water, including regulations and guidance required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Melton will serve a three term on the council.

As the Director of Public Works he oversees the engineering, transportation, stormwater, water resources and environmental services functions of the City. Melton also serves as National Director for the State of North Carolina with the National Rural Water Association and holds professional affiliations with the North Carolina Rural Water Association, the American Public Works Association, and the American Water Works Association.

Melton holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and a certification in Municipal Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institute of Government (now known as the School of Government.)

As an active member of the community, Melton has served as President and Committee Chair within Kannapolis Rotary Club, Member of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Cabarrus County, Vice-President and Board of Directors member for Cabarrus County Meals on Wheels, and Board Member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cabarrus County.

Winston-Salem ranked top digital city for 2014

After more than a decade in the top ten, Winston-Salem was named the most digitally savvy city of its size in America by the e.Republic Center for Digital Government.

Winston-Salem was ranked No. 1 in the center’s 2014 Digital Cities Survey of cities with a population of 125,000 to 249,999. The annual study ranks the use of information technology by local governments.

The 2014 survey ranked cities for their use of digital technology in the areas of citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data, said Todd Sander, the center’s executive director.

“This year’s Digital Cities’ winners brought about impressive change across all aspects of government by leveraging information technology investments to expand open government, citizen participation and shared services,” Sander said.

Through the city website, Winston-Salem residents have access to crime tracking data updated daily, internal performance measures, and financial data that allow citizens to track city spending down to individual vendor transactions. A new citizen notification system allows residents to sign up for alerts by text, voice, or email; and the city is cooperating with AT&T to build an all-fiber network with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.

Internally, the city has expanded the use of customized applications for mobile devices, such as a GISbased, GPS-enabled application that allows city workers, while they travel about the city, to grade street health as part of a system that prioritizes paving projects. These applications have reduced the need for expensive laptops and allow staff to work independent of location, enabling more efficient operations and greater productivity. Winston-Salem has ranked in the top 10 of the center’s annual survey every year since 2002, ranging from second place in 2003, 2008 and 2011, to tenth place in 2002, the first year the city participated.

Dennis Newman, the city’s chief information officer, attributed the city’s consistent rankings in the Digital Cities survey to the city’s ongoing investment in core information technology skills and infrastructure. "This has allowed us to take advantage of technologies when the opportunity arises so that we can provide a high level of services," he said.

Sander said, "It’s not surprising that the city of Winston-Salem has been ranked in the Top Ten Digital Cities every year since 2002. They’ve done an outstanding job of building a sound technology infrastructure under the leadership of CIO Dennis Newman, and then consistently built on that investment with new applications and services that strengthen city functions, which translates into citizen benefits."

The rankings were compiled by the e.Republic Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute. Three other North Carolina cities were also ranked: Greenville tied for second among cities with a population of 75,000 to 124,999; Durham tied for fourth among cities with a population of 125,000 to 249,999; and Raleigh tied for fifth among cities with a population of 250,000 or more.