Murfreesboro earns grant

Published 2:54 pm Sunday, July 19, 2015

MURFREESBORO – The growth of Chowan University is welcomed by the majority of those living in this historic Hertford County town. However, that growth has placed a strain on the town’s water system.

That issue will soon be resolved.

Murfreesboro officials have been notified that the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority has awarded the town a $602,000 grant to assist with the construction of a new potable well.

Mayor John Hinton said the news was welcomed on two fronts – addressing an immediate need for additional water capacity and making Murfreesboro attractive for commercial/industrial growth.

“We made a commitment back in 2007 to expand our wastewater capacity, and now we are in need to do the same for our potable water supply,” Hinton said. “This grant affords us an opportunity to expand our water supply without placing a burden on the town’s budget. There was no way we could have afforded this expansion through either our general fund or enterprise fund, and due to our current budget situation, a loan through USDA was out of the question.”

Hinton said the new well would be the fourth now serving the town. It has the capacity of adding 1,500 gallons of water per minute to the town’s system.

It will be placed on land previously purchased by the town from Chowan University….a two acre parcel located across from Hertford County Middle School. Hinton said the university sold the land to the town at a “bargain price.”

The grant, Hinton said, will cover 100 percent of the costs associated with digging the well and the pumps.

“None of this would have happened without the hard work of (Hertford County Economic Development Director) Bill Early,” Hinton stressed. “He went to work on this project; he was the brains behind this project. On behalf of the Town of Murfreesboro, I can’t thank him enough for the effort he put into this project.”

Hinton added that he was waiting to hear from Early on when the project can proceed.

“We still have the clear the land of trees; basically that’s all we’re waiting on to start this,” the Mayor said.

Student enrollment at Chowan University has doubled in recent years, increasing the demand on the town’s water supply. As these demands have grown, it has limited the town’s ability to develop available industrial and brownfield sites.

“This is a win-win situation all the way around for Murfreesboro,” said Hinton, adding that one particular industrial site, now vacant, is being studied for development, prompted by the news of the town adding water capacity.

North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III and Assistant Secretary for Rural Development Dr. Patricia Mitchell recently announced that the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) had approved Murfreesboro’s grant application, along with 15 others statewide totaling more than $6.0 million.

The RIA was established as part of the Rural Economic Development Division at the N.C. Department of Commerce to assist with the review and approval of grants for rural areas in the state. The grants-making programs of the division include assistance for building reuse and well as infrastructure, including water and sewer.

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.

email author More by Cal