M’boro closes out Villas project

Published 7:28 am Saturday, August 14, 2010

MURFREESBORO — The Howard Hunter’s Villas may become reality after all.

In approximately 30 days, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) on the Howard Hunter’s Villas project will be closed out, ending the town’s obligation and opening the development for the construction of homes for low to moderate income families.

On Tuesday, Vickie Miller, assistant director for Department of Commerce Division of Community Assistance (DCA) came to the town for a close-out monitoring visit to review the project’s progress, conformity with approved activities in the application and compliance with CDBG rules and regulation.

In addition to Miller’s visit, Murfreesboro Town Council members also heard a report from Mike Barnette, with McDavid Associates, a firm that provided grant administration from the town.

“This is, as most of you are aware, one of the final steps in closing the program,” said Barnette.

Barnette said everything is in line with the exception of a Vernon Kee construction contract which he said would “not be hard to get.”

Upgrades to the lift station needed to be completed before the project could be continued.

In March, while the town had completed their end of upgrading the sewer system, Public Works Director Gene Byrd reported tests that had not been performed on collection system and problems with a pipe as well as a manhole that is leaking water. That responsibility of fixing the issues fell to the Hertford County Quality of Life Association (QUOLA).

Those issues prevented the town from accepting the sewer structure onto the town’s system. The issues have since been taken care of and the water system for the project is complete, including the installation of water mains had been installed for 20 lots. Byrd gave his approval of the system on Monday.

Senator Ed Jones, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, was credited in assisting the town in closing the grant. Jones, along with town officials, met with DCA representatives on July 20 to discuss the close out of the grant.

A letter signed by DCA Director Gloria Nance-Sims to Murfreesboro Mayor John Hinton dated July 21 informed the town that DCA would move forward with closing the grant.

A letter, signed by Hinton to Miller dated July 7, said “QUOLA has indicated that it has a list of eligible families and is in the process of securing Rural Development financing for these potential homebuyers.”

The letter further states that the town would pave the streets in phase one of Howard Hunter Villas and cause the necessary repairs to be made to the sewer system in the consideration of dollar for dollar reduction of the $130,000 owed to DCA.