Eliza Lane community overhaul passes halfway point

Chris Berendt Staff Writer

August 26, 2013

A Community Development Block Grant project targeting Eliza Lane and several adjacent streets for comprehensive utilities and street resurfacing is “about 65 percent through” about a year after it was originally bid.

“They’re almost finished putting in all the lines,” said interim city manager Shawn Purvis. “All the sewer is in, all storm drainage is in … they just have to finish with the water lines, then we’ll move toward paving and doing the taps.”

City Council awarded the project in December 2012 to Columbus Utilities of Whiteville, the low bidder with a bid of $597,601,50, following a re-bid. Issues at the Department of Commerce and a contractor-requested bid increase of $42,000 led City Council to reject all bids in November, after initially awarding it in early September 2012, almost exactly a year ago. Even though there was a delay, the project ultimately came in at a lower price.

The Eliza Lane project is expected to improve the quality of life in several neighborhoods by improving streets, fire service and water and sewer infrastructure in the area. A notable part of the project will also see what is now completely dirt streets on Eliza, Abron Street and Jerome Street covered in asphalt.

That is expected to be the final piece of the total project, which includes new water and sewer lines in the neighborhood, as well as fire hydrants. The area, located immediately adjacent to the city limits off U.S. 701, consists of 22 residences that do not have city water or sewer services. City officials said the streets are in “extremely bad condition,” some being impassable after a heavy rain.

Specifically, the project includes 2,070 linear feet of water lines, 1,570 linear feet of sewer lines and nearly a half mile of street paving. The CDBG grant for $572,765 was matched with $217,785 from the city, split evenly between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 budgets.

During a recent meeting, the City Council also approved hiring Holland Consulting as its management consultant for other recently-approved CDBG improvements, which will replace and upgrade water lines throughout various parts of the city.

The city was awarded a $750,000 infrastructure grant through CDBG program and City Council accepted the grant during its regular August meeting, voting to allocate reserve funds from the city’s Water and Sewer Fund to meet a $40,000 city obligation (5 percent match) for the $750,000 grant.

Following that grant acceptance, which Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil lauded as a beneficial award for Clinton, the Council hired Holland on Purvis’ recommendation to oversee the project’s management.

“We do continue to recommend Holland Consulting,” Purvis said. “They’ve worked with us before, they’ve done a great job for us, and a lot of that is due to the knowledge of our community. This will be the fifth project (with the city) and they have done a good job.”

Vreugdenhil said the grant application for infrastructure improvements was actually submitted to the N.C. Department of Commerce in September 2012. Like the Eliza Lane project, nearly a year later, the city is poised to make improvements that will pay dividends for years to come.

“The purpose of the grant is to install 8,000 linear feet of 6-inch water line, replacing 2-inch substandard galvanized line, including hydrants,” said Vreugdenhil, who noted the new PVC pipe and fire hydrants will also be installed in 11 different project areas.

Those areas include East Boney, Green, Phillips, Herring, Ellen, Kennedy, Graham, Grantham, Lloyd, West Powell, Maple and Betty streets, as well as Walston Lane. The project, Vreugdenhil said, will “improve water quality, reduce line breaks and provide fire protection,” as is the goal with the ongoing Eliza Lane, Abron Street and Jerome Street project.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at