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Barrows Mill Road sewer project seeks funding

JACKSON – If approved by the North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, a CDBG-I project will help provide public sewer service to residents on Barrows Mill Road, located just outside of Jackson.

At their regular meeting on Nov. 2, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners agreed to move forward with submitting an application for a Community Development Block Grant for Infrastructure (CDBG-I). The statewide CDBG program provides funding to address different community needs including economic development, neighborhood revitalization, COVID-19 projects, and—in the case of the proposed Barrows Mill Road project—water/sewer infrastructure.

At least 51 percent of people served by a CDBG project must be considered low- to moderate-income. For the Barrows Mill project, that number will be 100 percent.

A public hearing to discuss the project was held before Monday’s regular commissioner meeting.

“The county’s request is to send public sewer to nine low- to moderate-income households,” explained Mike Scott, a representative from PRO Inc who presented the information at the public hearing.

“The septic systems of all nine occupied houses are failing, and some have gray water discharge,” he continued.

Scott noted that the residents at those nine homes did not have the financial means to fix the problems on their own, and the failing septic systems are a community environmental concern. Discussions about the project with the residents of Barrows Mill Road were met with positive responses.

“The most appropriate solution to assure public health and provide safe and reliable sewer service to the community is implementation of a public sewer collection system owned and operated by Northampton County,” he concluded.

The county is seeking approximately $2 million for the project. Over $1.5 million of that money will be used for the infrastructure improvements, including approximately 1,900 feet of 8-inch gravity sewer, 8,900 feet of 4-inch sewer force main, nine 4-inch service connections, and one 80 GPM (gallons per minute) sewer pump station.

The remaining funds will cover engineering and grant administration costs.

No individuals are expected to be displaced or need temporary relocation for the project.

No citizens chose to speak during the public hearing, and the commissioners did not offer comment either except for Commissioner Nicole Boone.

“This project is being worked upon by some great people,” Boone said, mentioning several meetings which had been held previously to discuss the project.

During the regular meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved the CDBG-I application and resolution. Boone provided the motion and Commissioner Kelvin Edwards seconded.

The application deadline is Nov. 23. Once submitted, the county will have to wait to see if they’ll be awarded the funding for the project.

The Barrows Mill Road project was first proposed in 2015. Previous applications to the CDBG-I program, however, did not score high enough to receive funding. The last time Northampton County applied for funding was in 2018.

Northampton County has received CDBG funding for several different projects in the last decade, many of which were neighborhood revitalization and economic development projects.