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Northampton accepts #036;500,000 grant

JACKSON – Christmas came early in Northampton County.

That was the message from Susan Christensen of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development (USDA) office Monday.

Christensen appeared before the Northampton County Commissioners to bring confirmation of a $500,000 grant for the Wellness and Cultural Center.

&uot;We received official notification this morning,&uot; Christensen said. &uot;This one-half million dollar grant goes with the $1.8 million loan that came in September.&uot;

County Manager Wayne Jenkins reminded the Board of the previous presentation.

In September, commissioners held a public hearing concerning the acceptance of a $1.8 million loan from the USDA.

No citizens spoke against accepting the loan, which helped the county after they agreed to change the focus of the center from recreation to wellness.

At that meeting, Christensen said the loan piece came through, but the grant funding had not followed. She indicated it would follow, but they weren’t sure about a timetable.

&uot;We understand without the grant, the project is not feasible,&uot; Christensen told the Board in September.

The feasibility came through Monday when the Board received paperwork to accept the grant funding.

&uot;This is wonderful,&uot; Board chairwoman Virginia D. Spruill (D-2nd) said.

Commissioner James Hester (D-1st) made the motion to accept the grant funding with Commissioner Robert V. Carter (D-4th) offering a second. It passed unanimously.

Following the acceptance, Spruill signed the Letter of Conditions to accept the funding. Christensen said the letter changed all of the conditions to two years from Monday, replacing the letter of conditions signed in September.