East Spencer to discuss grant projects at Tuesday meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2016

By Shavonne Walker


EAST SPENCER — The town board will hear presentations on three big upcoming projects at its Tuesday meeting, two of which have already been approved for grants.

The board will receive a presentation from Joe Morici of Cardno Consulting Inc., the project manager for the town’s Brownfields Project. The town received a $400,000 assessment grant, which could lead them to clean up and redevelop historical property.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program allows communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses. The investments provide communities with the funding necessary to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties.

The town hopes to assess the Dunbar Center, which it can, but because the town doesn’t own the property, it can’t conduct a clean-up of it.

A representative with the UNC School of Government, which established the Development Finance Initiative, will talk to the town about potential clean up and future development of the former school system building.

The board collaborated with a group of students from UNC-Chapel Hill who identified a potential use for the building. Through the collaboration, the board and students determined the building could be used as affordable senior housing.

The school system moved into its central office and recently took bids on the building, located at 110 S. Long St., but received none.

East Spencer Town Administrator David Jaynes explained the town financially can’t purchase the building, but would like the opportunity to lease it.

School system officials have said the building needs a lot of work to bring it up to code. East Spencer hopes to have the property assessed through its Brownfields grant. The town can have property that it doesn’t owned assessed.

“That way we can look at possible lead, asbestos or other environmental concerns,” Jaynes said.

He said it would cost at least $50,000 to upfit the building, but guesses it could be even more.

He said the Tuesday meeting is designed to have all of the players at one meeting to discuss the Brownfields project, possible use for the former school building and what lies ahead for the bike plan.

The pedestrian planning grant is being developed jointly by the town of East Spencer and Spencer.

The board is also looking to raise $325 before July 5 in order to have enough funds to begin Royal Giants summer camp for local children. The campers will visit an area museum and have offsite activities and field trips. Camp begins July 5 and ends August 5.

The board will be at 6:30 p.m. at town hall, 105 S. Long St.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.