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Published 9:18am Tuesday, October 9, 2012

CONWAY – Conway town officials are looking for a way to take advantage of a natural gas line slated to be installed in their area.

Last week during the Conway Board of Commissioners meeting, Mayor Brian Bolton discussed the board’s interest in the town’s citizens having an opportunity to tap into a natural gas line extension from Milwaukee to Severn scheduled to be installed along NC 35. The gas line will help Hampton Farms in Severn to grow as a company and add jobs.

“That’s going to offer clean energy possibilities for Conway and hopefully Northampton County,” Bolton said.

Bolton said he contacted County Manager Wayne Jenkins with questions, including how much money is spent through Social Services on heating bills (LP and electric).

Bolton said having natural gas available to citizens in the county would save Social Services “a lot of money” that could be used in other areas.

“Also it would be a benefit to farmers in the area and businesses; economic development would thrive with having natural gas throughout the entire county,” he said. “And we need to have natural gas also designated as a utility where we can apply for grant money to help with connecting fees for low to moderate income families.”

Bolton said the town is already investigating what it would take to tap into the line.

Oliver Bass with North Carolina Department of Commerce Community Development said he could check to see what assistance could be offered to the town.

Northampton County Economic Director Gary Brown said survey work on the project is well underway.

“The new pipeline, which will be constructed from Milwaukee to Severn, the natural gas capacity in that line by the time it gets to Severn it’s going to be pretty well fully subscribed,” Brown said.

He added the existing latent capacity for delivering natural gas service to the town of Conway would be in the current gas line from Milwaukee to Georgia Pacific.

“The cost of extending natural gas service countywide would be enormously prohibited predominately because we would have to extend not only distribution lines, but transmission lines in every direction throughout Northampton County,” Brown said. “So, I think you’re wise to focus your attention on a concentrated needs area such as the town of Conway.”

Brown said the county hopes to place the project out to construction bid by the end of the calendar year.

“We would like to be in construction at least by 2013 and completed by mid-2013,” he said.

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