The Town of Rocky Mount is moving forward with plans to install a street sound system for a portion of the downtown area.

Rocky Mount Town Council voted unanimously in favor of purchasing a sound system, including nine speakers that can broadcast a variety of music. The total cost of the system is $19,250 that will come from the town’s tourism and branding budget.

Speakers will be placed on existing poles between Floyd Avenue and West Church Street in downtown. No music has been set to play in the speakers, but council members said any variety of music could be played, including songs from upcoming performers at the Harvester Performance Center or Christmas music during the annual parade.

Original plans were to place speakers from Floyd Avenue to the end of Franklin Street at the Rocky Mount Community and Hospitality Center at the Depot. That cost was estimated at $38,000 before being scaled down to the current proposal.

Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins said the plan is to place the speakers around popular locations such as the Harvester Performance Center and the Farmers Market. Those areas have the most tourist traffic, he said.

The sound system can be turned off at times when live music is being performed downtown or during the weekly farmers market on Saturday. Hankins said the music could conflict with the religious beliefs of the German Baptists that set up at the farmers market.

The sound system could be in operation as early as this fall, Hankins said. The system can also be expanded in the coming years with the purchase of additional speakers.

In other news, Town Council:

n Approved the date of the Franklin County Public Safety Christmas Parade. The parade will be held on Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. along North Main Street.

n Joined other jurisdictions, including the Town of Vinton in passing a resolution to the Blue Ridge Parkway requesting sufficient funds be provided to open and maintain the parkway. The parkway has been closed periodically due to maintenance issues and is a significant tourist draw in the region.

n Approved a request from STEP Inc. to hold its second annual STEP Into Christmas home tour. The event will be held Dec. 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. and feature five homes along Claiborne Avenue and High Street. The road will be closed during the event.

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