Rural Center awards grant to Seaboard

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 7, 2004

SEABOARD – The Town of Seaboard continues to move forward in offering quality services to its citizens.

Seaboard Mayor Melvin Broadnax announced earlier this week that the town was informed on Aug. 27 of a grant award from The Rural Center. The supplemental grant – worth $400,000 – is earmarked for the Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation program. It was awarded through The Rural Center’s Clean Water Bond Grants Program.

&uot;This makes us feel mighty good to get this money,&uot; said Mayor Broadnax. &uot;It might not sound like a lot of money to Raleigh or Durham, but this is a big deal for us here in little Seaboard. This is a ton of money for us.&uot;

Broadnax said he had vivid memories of the very first sewer lines laid in this Northampton County town. That occurred in 1942.

&uot;My daddy, Henry Broadnax, helped dig the holes to put down those first water and sewer lines,&uot; he recalled. &uot;We did that project through with WPA (Work Program of America) money.&uot;

While some of those old lines have been replaced since the 1942 construction project, Broadnax stated the entire water and sewer system was in dire need of an overhaul.

&uot;We’ve been able to upgrade and maintain those lines over the years, but it just got to a point where the whole thing needed fixing,&uot; noted the Mayor. &uot;We’re mighty grateful to The Rural Center for helping us out with this grant money.&uot;

Once completed, Broadnax said Seaboard would have the necessary infrastructure in place to attract new business.

&uot;We must offer a water and sewer system that can meet the needs of a business or industry that might be giving us a look,&uot; he stated. &uot;With this in place, it gives us a good chance of attracting new industry.&uot;

District 4 State Senator Robert Holloman of Hertford County, a major supporter of the Clean Water Bonds Grant Program, said the funds were critical in helping small communities grow and prosper.

&uot;These funds will help our communities provide services for residents and build an infrastructure that will help the economy grow,&uot; noted Sen. Holloman.

Supplemental grants are designed to assist qualified local governments with the construction of critically needed water and wastewater projects.

&uot;As long as someone wants to send some money our way, you can believe that we’ll spend it on making our little town a better place,&uot; stressed Broadnax.

All totaled, The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center’s board of directors voted August 26 to award $10,740,390 in Clean Water Bond grants to 46 rural communities for water and wastewater system improvements. The N.C. General Assembly charged the Rural Center with making targeted investments in rural communities demonstrating a critical need for water infrastructure projects, using funds from the state’s Clean Water Bonds approved by voters in 1998.

Within District Four, Holloman said nearly $2 million in grants were awarded. Included were $400,000 each for Murfreesboro, Littleton and Scotland Neck.

Murfreesboro’s grant will be used to build a third wastewater lagoon and construct additional spray irrigation fields.

Askewville received $210,000 to pay for additional costs to install a central sewer system designed to pump sewage to Windsor through an interlocal agreement.

A grant in the amount of $59,000 was awarded to Hertford County for construction of a new well for the Northern Rural Water District.

Ahoskie was given a $40,000 grant to help pay for a comprehensive investigation of its sewer collection system to determine sources of inflow and infiltration.

&uot;A good infrastructure will give our rural communities a boost in getting good jobs and improving the economy,&uot; noted Sen. Holloman. &uot;Just as important, it will help fix those systems that pollute our rivers and threaten our environment.&uot;

The Rural Center’s board of directors meet twice each year to award grants under two project categories, will make one more round of grant awards before the bond funds are fully expended in 2005. The center is now accepting applications for the final round of Clean Water Bond grants through September 30.

&uot;As we enter the sixth and final year of these water and wastewater investments, it is clear what a tremendous impact the bond program has had on rural North Carolina, its residents and businesses,&uot; said Rural Center President Billy Ray Hall. &uot;The projects have cleaned up serious environmental problems, created jobs, improved quality of life and for hundreds of rural communities, opened the door to a whole new way of life.&uot;

Grants are awarded under two categories: Supplemental grants of up to $400,000 to match funds already dedicated to a water or sewer project; and Capacity Building grants of up to $40,000 to conduct the planning phase of water and wastewater projects.

The board also voted to finance three supplemental grant applications with $569,500 in funds appropriated by the General Assembly. Projects in Bertie, Carteret and Hertford counties were funded under that category.

The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to develop sound economic strategies that improve the quality of life in rural North Carolina, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources. The center operates a multi-faceted program that includes: conducting research into rural issues; testing promising rural development strategies; advocating for policy and program innovations; and building the productive capacity of rural leaders, entrepreneurs and community organizations.

Questions about the Rural Center’s water and sewer grants program or about the grants listed above should be directed to Julie Haigler, director of the Rural Center’s water and sewer program, (919) 250-4314.