By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
A $1.4 million grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation will help Hoke County further expand sewer service in the U.S. 401 corridor.
The extended services will help support development that should bring new jobs to the area, officials said. The grant funding was part of a total $12.2 million package in funding supporting projects throughout the foundation’s community-based grant initiative in the Sandhills Prosperity Zone, its open grants program, community college scholarship program and disaster recovery grant program.
“Golden LEAF is dedicated to the long-term economic advancement of North Carolina,” Golden LEAF President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Hamilton said in a statement. “In this time of uncertainty, it is important for our Board and staff to be a steady hand in continuing to provide funding to our nonprofits and governmental entities who support North Carolina’s economy in the communities we serve.”
The county found out about the decision last Friday.
“We had some good news last week,” Hoke County Manager Letitia Edens said Monday at the Board of Commissioners meeting. Hoke County Emergency Management Coordinator Andrew Jacobs and Economic Development Director Will Wright worked together to apply for the grant to help improve the county.
“We’re trying to build up the corridor of 401 to bring business to the county, and I had them go after grants with Golden LEAF,” Edens said.
The funding will help the county run sewer lines to the area of U.S. 401 and Scull Road, where the county proposed to put a new Parks and Recreation center.
“It’s some good news in the midst of the chaos,” Jacobs said.
Hoke County staff deserve the credit for bringing the grant to the county, Commission Vice Chairman Harry Southerland said.
The grant was a significant amount from the Golden Leaf Foundation.
“It’s the largest amount they said that they’ve given out yet,” Commissioner Bobby Wright said.
“It’s certainly going to go a long way toward the development of the 401 corridor,” Jacobs said. “It’s certainly going to take time, even though the chaos that COVID-19 brings, I think it’s going to bring a lot of opportunities for grant funding to rural America. I’m hoping on tacking on some of those occasions for Hoke County.”
<02>Internet service proposed for community buildings
<01>The Hoke County Commissioners voted Monday to move to install internet access at all of the county’s public community buildings. Internet Technology Director Candace Pierce recommended the move to help provide internet for people who may not have access at home.
The project will cost about $14,000 in the first year to install and provide internet, and then will cost the county about $7,000 a year for the continued service, officials said. People would be able to park in the parking lot of the buildings and access the internet through wifi.
It could also help people who rent the buildings for future events, Commissioner Allen Thomas said.