Golden LEAF grant awarded

Published 2:14 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GATESVILLE – Another piece of the puzzle is now in place.

In a letter dated Dec. 8, the Golden LEAF Foundation formally notified Gates County officials of their approval of a $200,000 grant for the US 158 Economic Development Project.

This marks the third major grant awarded to the county for the project. Earlier, Gates County received $900,000 from the EDA (Economic Development Administration) plus $700,000 from the North Carolina Rural Center.

“We’re very thankful to (Golden LEAF President) Dan Gerlach and the Foundation Board for the investment they have made here,” said Gates County Manager Toby Chappell. “We have a good history with Golden LEAF and are excited over our continued relationship with them.”

To date, grants for the wastewater project, one that will serve a stretch of US 158 at and near Gates County High School as well as the new Merchants Commerce Center, total $1.8 million. Meanwhile, county officials have submitted paperwork to CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) for $500,000. There’s another grant in the amount of $500,000 from the North Carolina Industrial Development Fund that county officials will be seeking in the coming months.

The wastewater expansion project is expected to cost between $2.5 and $3 million.

“There was a certain order in which we sought these grants,” Chappell said. “With our successful efforts dealing with the first three we will now place more focus on securing the CDBG grant.”

Chappell praised Mike Scott, hired by the county to write grants for this project.

“This is another example of Mike using his expertise to lay out a comprehensive plan on our behalf,” Chappell noted. “This is the third grant we’ve sought and the third we’ve been awarded. We paid Mike $5,000 and have received $1.8 million. That’s a great return on our investment.”

While county officials are pleased with the three grants to date, they are fully aware that funds from granting agencies will not cover the full cost of the project.

“We knew going in that county money would be involved,” Chappell said. “But when you’ve only obligated yourself to roughly one fifth of what will be a 2.5 million dollar project, that’s a great investment.

“This is not the end of what we want to do in economic development here in Gates County,” Chappell added. “We want to continue to be aggressive in seeking out business development that will benefit each and every citizen in this county. If we see the need to expand the wastewater services, that’s a good problem to have. That means more businesses locating here and the more we have lessens the tax burden on our citizens.”

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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