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East Spencer to continue with grant application

EAST SPENCER — The town of East Spencer will continue with its application for a Community Development Block Grant for the North Carolina Neighborhood program after approval by the town board Monday night.

The grant is offered through the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division and will pay for the rehabilitation or repair of homes.

Amanda Whitaker, a senior consultant with WR Martin/Withers Ravenel, provided an overview of what the grant application requires.

The grant guidelines say the project must have a housing component that benefits low- to moderate-income households. The maximum award is $750,000.

Whitaker said at least 51 percent of the grant has to be used for housing. The town hopes to tie the grant to its investment at Royal Giants Park.

Components of the grant could include park improvements like playground equipment, shelters or trails; neighborhood improvements such as greenways or sidewalks; and new community buildings or improvements to existing ones.

Resident Travis Carter asked if any of the grant money could be applied to the Dunbar center. Whitaker said it could not be because it’s outside the scope of the grant and the town does not own the property. The Paul L. Dunbar Center burned in 2014 and has sat untouched since then. Most of the property is owned by the nonprofit Paul L. Dunbar Group.

The town previously applied and received another CDBD grant that paid for repairs on more than 5o dilapidated homes.

Resident Stanley Rice asked for clarification about the grant guidelines. No other residents spoke in opposition or in favor of the grant.

In other business:

• The board approved the contract for a community development grant for water infrastructure.

The project will eliminate one pump station and install gravity sewer and replace or rehabilitate 5,000 feet of 8-inch and 12-inch gravity sewer lines along Division Avenue and Andrews, Torbush, Henderson, Geroid, Correll, Boundary, and Broad streets.

The homes in those areas have experienced backups from clogged sewers. A total of 1,715 people will benefit from the project.

Once all the guidelines are met, the project could begin in April 2021 and be completed by May 2022.

The grant is more than $1.9 million.

• The board scheduled a public hearing during its June 18 work session on the 2019-20 budget. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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