The city was informed last week that they would officially be receiving the grant, which was applied for last year.
The proposed project area is along Russell Street and Pugh Road. City officials expect to restore 11 homes in the area, upgrading the water system to improve quality and fire safety and constructing new sewer lines to serve residents. All of the affected residents currently rely on septic tanks.
Grant funds were sought following a unanimous City Council vote in May 2008 to extend the city’s gravity sewer line along Pugh Road to serve residents on Faison Highway (N.C. 403) and Russell Street. Extending city sewer services via the Pugh Road pump station to those property owners came after residents raised concerns of failing septic tanks in the area.
“This is a great project and we are excited to receive the grant,” said city manager John Connet. “These funds will help us improve our city and improve the quality of life for our citizens.”
CDBG funds will supply $850,000 of the $950,000 project, and the city plans to extend bids in the early fall, beginning work soon thereafter. The project is expected to be completed in 18-20 months once construction begins, city officials said.
“This will improve conditions for residents in the area significantly and it will also give us the opportunity to improve our whole water-sewer system by connecting it to the recent Pugh Road project, but that will be after the CDBG project is completed,” stated assistant city manager Shawn Purvis.
The CDBG funds are available to local governments for projects that enhance the viability of communities by providing decent housing, suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities. The funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the state of North Carolina, which then distributes the funds through the N.C. Division of Community Assistance.
The $850,000 of CDBG funds was initially included in the city of Clinton’s capital improvement plan — the CIP was presented to the Council last month — as a projection, and now has been realized. Purvis stated that, had the city not received the grant, the project would likely have been removed from the CIP.
City officials attributed the $100,000 pledge put forth from the city as part of its application in strengthening its chances to receive the grant. Purvis stated that, although the city had a “very strong project,” the grant applications were competitive, especially considering the economy. There were more than 20 applications submitted for proposed projects in the eastern region of the state, with about a third of them funded, the assistant city manager said.
Connet said the city is fortunate to receive grant funding to offset the costs of major projects, and it will continue to seek outside opportunities to lighten the fiscal load locally. The fact that the city was able to receive a $850,000 grant is a testament to the way the municipality does business, the city manager attested.
“It means we have a reputation for managing good projects,” Connet remarked. “We have a very good working relationship with various funding agencies, whether it be USDA, (Parks and Recreation Trust Fund), CDBG or the Department of Commerce — that we’re able to take their money and put that together in a timely manner and follow through with their requirements. I think that’s why we tend to do well when we pursue grants.”
And it is important to pursue the right grant for the right area, he noted, going after funds for areas that qualify and need them most.
“Most areas within the city don’t qualify because they’re in good condition,” said Connet.
The city manager has said that the project, once completed, will soon pay for itself once the additional customers hooking on to the city’s gravity sewer are voluntarily annexed, which will increase the tax base.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 121, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.