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Golden Leaf targets three projects

WINTON – If the Golden Leaf Foundation gives final approval, $2.7 million is headed to Hertford County.

During Monday night’s meeting of the Hertford County Commissioners, Vice Chairman Howard J. Hunter III gave a report about the meeting between county officials and citizens and representatives of the foundation.

Hunter said the foundation representatives gave their nod of approval to a trio of projects in Hertford County that would benefit a large number of citizens.

The top funding project is the Early College High School program which is a joint venture between Hertford County Public Schools and Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

“The Golden Leaf people seemed pleased with the Early College High School concept,” Hunter said. “They will, hopefully, be funding that project at $1.85 million over five years.”

The Early College High School would allow 50 students per year to enter the program which would dually permit students to receive a high school diploma and a two-year college degree in a total of five years in the program.

Commissioner Dupont A. Davis asked if the problems experienced during a previous attempt to start the school had been overcome and Hunter said it appeared they had.

The second project priority for Hertford County is another joint venture n this one between Roanoke-Chowan Hospital and Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

The project fell under workforce development and is a program focused on moving adults and women into health care careers. The three-year program would total $360,000 with a breakdown of $100,000 in year one, $120,000 in year two and the remaining $140,000 in the final year.

“Golden Leaf liked this program because it can benefit the entire county,” Hunter said. “Not just the county, but the whole region.”

The third priority is to begin countywide recreation. It is a $500,000 grant for a joint venture between Hertford County and the Elks National Shrine. The grant could be used as matching funds for a PARTF grant.

The two entities will work together to provide recreation, led by the county, on the Elks National Shrine site in Winton.

“They felt recreation is something that is needed,” Hunter said. “We want to work with the town of Ahoskie and the town of Murfreesboro as we proceed with having county recreation.”

The fourth project that was identified by the county was a Hertford County Economic Development initiative to provide a 100,000 square foot spec building at a total cost of $4 million.

“The Golden Leaf representatives were concerned about the total amount of time that it would take to receive any benefit,” he said. “They would have been willing to help if the shell of a building were in place.”

With that part removed from the project, it left Hertford County with the hopes of receiving $2.71 million for the first three projects.

Commission John E. Pierce also said he was pleased with the possibility of having that amount of money come in grants. Commissioners Johnnie R. Farmer and Curtis A. Freeman were not in attendance.

According to Hunter, the Golden Leaf Foundation board will meet in December to provide final approval for the grants.