Grant helps plan for industrial park’s future

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A $262,000 grant will help Hoke County pay for engineering plans to run county utilities to the industrial park in Dundarrach.

Hoke County Economic Development Director Will Wright announced the grant to county commissioners at the board meeting Monday night. A contract for the funding is pending, and expected to come before commissioners for a vote at the next regularly scheduled meeting this month.

Wright asked the board for a $65,500 match from county funds to add to the pot of money. The total amount will go to pay a company to plan out what it will take to extend county sewer and water service all the way to the industrial park on Pate Road.

Right now, the county industrial park only has one permanent industrial resident: the ethanol plant. However, the property at large surrounding the plant is zoned for industrial development, should any company looking for a site to build come looking at Hoke as a possible new home.

The lack of utilities has somewhat hampered possible development at the industrial park, as that’s something many companies ask about when considering where to build, Wright explained.

The $262,000 is part of $5 million in funds available through North Carolina’s Southeast, a public-private partnership that markets southeastern counties in the state as a good place to do business. The funds will be made available to NCSE member counties.

The grant money won’t be nearly enough to actually run the sewer and water lines to Hoke’s County industrial park – that will cost in the millions. But it’s a start that will save time when the county is ready to tackle the project, Wright told the board. It could “significantly shorten” the timeline by as much as nine months when things do get moving, he said.

The county is already working on several utilities expansion projects, including “Grow Hoke,” which is extending county utilities to part of Fayetteville Road near Scull Road that previously did not have sewer access; and two phases of utilities expansion that will bring county sewer service to the Rockfish-Hoke Elementary School and downtown Rockfish areas.

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