EDA grant request moves forward

Published 11:33 am Monday, October 18, 2010

GATESVILLE – It was news well-received.

At their Oct. 6 meeting, the Gates County Board of Commissioners were informed that a $900,000 application submitted by the county to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has moved to a higher level of consideration.

County officials applied for the federal funds to help pay for a proposed $2.55 million development of property along a portion of US 158 near Gates County High School.

In a letter dated Sept. 30 from H. Phillip Paradice Jr. Director of the Atlanta Region of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the entity that oversees the EDA, Gates County Board of Commissioners Chairman Graham Twine was informed that the $900,000 funding application for the rehabilitation and expansion of wastewater treatment facilities to serve the proposed commercial development merits further consideration.

“They gave a list of additional information they want the county to supply and Mike Scott and our engineers are in the process of compiling that information,” Gates County Manager Toby Chappell said.

The proposed project will be considered for a federal Public Works Program.

In the letter to Twine, Paradice said, “This (additional) information will supplement your application and enable EDA to proceed with processing.”

A deadline of Nov. 1 was given to supply the additional information.

The letter also stated that this notification of further consideration in no way guarantees that EDA will approve the application.

Also at their Oct. 6 meeting, the Gates County Commissioners unanimously approved a $302,700 contract with Cavanaugh & Associates of Winston-Salem to provide the professional engineering services to assist the county with the creation of a sewer collection system that will serve the proposed commercial development area.

The money to pay that contract will be evenly taken from the county’s Water Fund Balance Appropriated and General Fund Balance Appropriated ($151,350 each).

Last month, the commissioners were notified that the North Carolina Rural Center has more than doubled its grant funding to Gates County in regards to the commercial development of the same property.

In a letter dated Aug. 27 to Gates County Manager Toby Chappell, NC Rural Center President Billy Ray Hall announced that his organization has awarded an Economic

Infrastructure Program grant increase in the amount of $355,000 for the project entitled “Gates County Family Fun Center Sewer Improvements.”

The Rural Center had originally awarded $345,000 for the project.

“This grant amount now totals $700,000,” Hall said in his letter. “The purpose of this program is to assist units of local government with construction of water and wastewater projects that lead directly to job creation in the private sector.”

The development of the Gates County Family Fun Center is just one part of the overall development of a core area along US 158 from just west of Eleanors Crossroads to just east of Easons Crossroads, including the Kim Olds property. That entire area has been targeted for commercial and residential growth.

The Gates County Board of Commissioners voted in November of last year to seek grant funds to pay for the wastewater infrastructure that will support the project.

That project, submitted by the developer – Dr. Lewis Fisher Jr. – proposes to construct a multi-purpose recreational facility on 7.5 acres of land within the Kim Olds complex located off US 158 across from Gates County High School.

Plans for the facility include a bowling alley, movie theater, indoor bumper cars, food court and games arcade. The proposed Family Fun Center is projected to serve not only Gates County citizens, but those in Bertie, Hertford, Chowan, Camden, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.

Additionally, the bowling ally can support Chowan University who recently added women’s bowling to its list of athletic programs.

The Center will also provide much-needed jobs in the local area as it plans to employ 29 individuals.

In addition to the Rural Center money and the EDA application, Chappell said requests will be made to the Community Development Block Grant and Golden Leaf, seeking additional funds for the project.

The project would make significant improvements to the wastewater treatment plant currently in place at the Gates County Correctional Facility, which closed late last year and is currently in the process of being turned over to the county.

A draft study of the project was performed last year by Cavanaugh & Associates. According to the feasibility study, paid for by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, the treatment facility could be located on the 20-acre site once used for wastewater treatment by the Gates County Correctional Facility. That treatment facility, which also serves Gates County High School and Central Middle School, is permitted to operate at 25,000 gallons per day (gpd), although its existing daily flow is 11,000 gallons.

What Cavanaugh & Associates suggested was a 50,000 gpd wastewater plant. That would take in the existing 11,000-gallon daily flow and allow for the projected commercial growth within the core area.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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