Annexation to aid plant’s re-opening

First Posted: 1/15/2009

FAIRMONT — The town is a step closer to the rebirth of a closed industrial facility.
The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday in a unanimous vote directed the town clerk to begin the process of annexing about 10 acres that abut the eastern edge of town. The vote sets in motion the voluntary annexation of the parcel and moves the Harger Lightning & Grounding Company closer to reviving an idled manufacturing plant, which is expected to eventually create about 100 jobs.
The venture is dependent on the town providing sewer service to the facility on N.C. 130 East.
Earlier this year the town board awarded the sewer project to Columbus Utilities out of Fair Bluff, whose bid of $174,719.84 was the lowest among eight received. The sewer extension project is being paid for with a $400,000 state grant.
“The sewer line is being built right now,” Town Manager Blake Proctor said. Completion of the work is expected after the first of the year.
Harger, a Chicago company that manufactures lightning rods and grounding equipment, approached the town last year about setting up shop in the old industrial building. Harger has been busy this summer remodeling the plant, which once housed tobacco for R.J. Reynolds and was later home to a molding company. The renovations include an addition behind the existing plant.
In order to physically attach the 10-acre site to the town, the town board had to annex a sliver of land along a railroad right-of-way. In August, the commissioners accepted the deed to that land, and in September approved the annexation of the linear parcel.
The next step is a public hearing on Harger’s petition for voluntary annexation, which is likely to happen at the board’s November meeting.
In other action Tuesday, the board:
— Reappointed Phostenia McCrimmon, Dennis Hicks and Betty Love to the Planning Board.
— Was introduced to the town’s newest police officer, Al Shipman Jr. Police Chief Robert Hassell introduced the Rowland native.
— Accepted a painting from Bob Fisher, director of the Robeson County Library.
— Heard about the many services provided by the Robeson County Partnership for Children from its new director, Jessica Lowery.
— Recognized the 2008-2009 Fairmont Farmers Festival queens.

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