RED SPRINGS — The Red Springs Board of Commissioners accepted a letter from the United States Department of Agriculture on Tuesday outlining the conditions for a farmers market the town plans to fund through a Rural Business Development Grant.
“Basically, any changes in the scope of the project and possible location would have to be approved by the agency, so it’s going to have to stick to the concept of a farmers market,” said Larry Sampson, a Rural Development specialist with the USDA. “This letter is to tie the money down so you’ve got it. The funding is assured.”
When the $99,000 grant is approved, the money will be put toward the construction of a 4,000-square-foot facility to house the farmers market. Construction is expected to be completed by June 1, 2016, according to Sampson.
The discussion of grants continued when Mike Apke, director of engineering for McGill and Associates, gave a presentation about the $2.25 million Community Block Development Grant that will be used to upgrade the town’s outdated sewer system.
“It’s a very competitive program and you were one of the few applicants statewide that received funding,” Apke said. “Those lines have been in the ground since the mid-1940s. You’ve gotten a useful life out of them, but it’s time to look at replacing them and this grant will certainly do that.”
Community Development Block Grants are offered through the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Development Division to improve housing and environmental conditions in towns with populations of less than 50,000 people. The grant will be used to replace about 9,500 feet of line in Red Springs, according to Apke.
“This is fantastic,” Commissioner David Shook said. “I think this is a big deal and citizens need to know what a big deal this is.”
Shook’s sentiments were echoed by Commissioner Ella McNeill.
“The people are filled with excitement and so am I,” she said.
Also on Tuesday, Wilson Ray, a member of the Red Springs Rotary Club, was named Citizen of the Month by Mayor John McNeill.
“You got the wrong person up here,” Ray said after accepting his plaque. “Tonight we could fill this room with hundreds and hundreds of people in this community who step up, volunteer their time and resources, and ask nothing in return. They just have a strong desire to make our community a better place. I hope that in the weeks and months to come, the town will continue to recognize some of them.”
Jaymie Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5771 or on Twitter @Jaymie_Baxley.