Under the Dome

Fair ride, downtown sprucing given go-ahead

The Council of State on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to a trio of projects in Raleigh: a new ride at the State Fair, selling an historic house downtown, and partnering with the city to spruce up Moore Square.

The council is comprised of 10 elected statewide officials, and has the responsibility to sign off on matters involving state property.

State Fair officials have chosen a Sanford company to build a ride that will carry people along overhead cables, giving visitors a new view of the fairgrounds. American Sky Lifts will build the ride. The council authorized a 10-year lease.

The state has found a buyer for the 146-year-old Heck-Andrews House on North Blount Street. The N.C. Association of Realtors will buy it for $1.5 million.

The McCrory administration had hoped to hang on to Heck-Andrews and restore it so it could be used by state government for special functions. Gov. Pat McCrory had sought money for the necessary renovations in a proposed bond issue, but the legislature stripped the house out of the final version.

The building was among 17 properties that the General Assembly identified as underused and good candidates to sell. .

The Realtors association must abide by preservation covenants that will protect the inside and outside of the house.

McCrory said saving and restoring the houses is part of his Project Phoenix effort to spruce up state-owned property, especially in downtown Raleigh.

Also part of the project is working with the city of Raleigh to improve Moore Square, including installing a food kiosk and restrooms. McCrory said he passes by Moore Square almost every night on his evening walks, and thinks it’s an eyesore.

All projects were approved unanimously.