Businessman pitches proposal

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, March 15, 2011

MURFREESBORO — There might be a new business coming to town.

Last week, the Murfreesboro Town Council heard a business proposal from George Miller of Roanoke Rapids. Miller’s proposal will go before the Murfreesboro Planning Board at 1 p.m. today (Tuesday).

“I’m here before you today with my idea to re-open what was formerly Jimmie’s Tavern (Jimmie’s Eats and Drinks),” he said.

Councilwoman Sarah Wallace asked Miller about the hours of operation.

Miller said the establishment would close at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s hours, he added, were still to be decided upon.

Mayor John Hinton questioned Miller about security at the business.

“It’s really going to be necessary that you coordinate some type of security because there were some problems between the Chowan (University) students and the locals at times, and this did spill over to the university when this was Jimmie’s,” Hinton said. “You do plan to have security?”

Miller said he did plan to have security in place and had a background in dealing with bar/restaurant businesses.

“I’ve managed a couple restaurants before, I know the warning signs and I know the steps to prevent it leading to that level,” he said.

He noted his business plan included having a security system and cameras as well.

“So we’re going to be proactive as far as anything that might develop,” Miller said.

“That’s good,” said Hinton. “I’m glad you thought of that ahead of time.”

Councilwoman Gloria Odum asked about the litter outside in the parking lot when the business was Jimmie’s.

“There will be no bottles removed from the building, there is no reason for that,” Miller said. “Our staff will be responsible for that.”

Interim Town Administrator Richard Hicks noted that the town’s zoning ordinance was previously changed and this type of establishment was allowed as a conditional use.

“(The town’s) zoning ordinance has been changed so it’s no longer listed as a conditional use,” he said. “You’ve (Miller) got to go back to the Planning Board and get it listed as a conditional use and it will come back to you (Town Council) and then if it’s approved by you, it’s got to go back to the Board of Adjustments to get a conditional use permit.”

Miller was joined at the meeting by Roanoke Chowan Community College Small Business Director Jim Bales and Halifax Community College Small Business Director Mark Stewart.

Bales said Miller will be applying for a grant to renovate the building.

“We (Bales along with Stewart) will be advocating that he apply to what’s known as the Building Reuse and Restoration grant offered by the (North Carolina) Rural Center,” Bales said. “The town becomes the applicant on the grant and they end up being the administrator of the grant money and there’s a small fee of three percent which can be met with in-kind services.”

Bales said for example, the in-kind services could be the cost of administrating the grant.

Bales gave the council a scenario, noting the grant is based upon matching funds and if Miller created three jobs, which is a major criteria of the grant, the Rural Center would match it with $24,000. Miller and the owner would have to commit to $48,000 worth of improvements in order to earn the match from the Rural Center.