The City Council has approved spending $881,000 to replace an aging electric substation in center city.
The project includes moving the substation to a less visable spot downtown.
Substation No. 5 plays a key role in connecting feeder lines that crisscross the city, said Larry Cranford, the city's director of electric utilities.
"In order to make the new substation more compatible with the downtown area, we have also negotiated a land swap with the owner of the surrounding property," Cranford said. "This will allow the new substation to be located beside an existing cell tower on Light Street."
The land swap will cost the city $3,500, but council members were unanimous in supporting the move.
"This will be a tremendous aesthetic boost to downtown," said Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Johnson.
The project also includes money to erect a historic designation sign at the current substation site, where the first municipally owned electric generator in North Carolina began operation in 1889.
According to city spokeswoman Nancy Davis, the original generator provided electricity for 100 incandescent lamps and 15 arc lights in the stores of downtown Statesville.
Today, the city's five substations and about 266 miles of distribution lines provide electricity for about 13,000 customers.
In other action last week:
The council approved a site plan for the expansion of Black Pontiac on Salisbury Road. The proposal calls for a 7,700-square-foot expansion of the showroom building to accommodate more service bays and a service canopy. The existing metal parts and storage building will be expanded by 5,500 square feet.
The council accepted a $79,796 federal grant to cover half the costs of switching the city's police radios to the new 800-megahertz VIPER format. The new format is intended to get all N.C. emergency responders on the same radio system. The city will pay the other half ot the cost.
The council transferred $18,000 from the Drug Seizure Fund to buy 12 sets of body armor for the police department.
The council agreed to co-sponsor the 2010 Carolina Balloon Festival Oct. 22-24. As a co-sponsor, the city will provide services including two supervisors and four officers from Statesville police. The police department will also provide five more officers, paid for by the festival organizers.