Revitalization project gearing up in Elizabethtown

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — The town is moving forward with Phase II of the revitalization project that began nearly a decade ago.

“The town intends to begin streetscape of West Broad Street,” Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden informed the Council and guests Monday night. “The expected time to begin is August, and the cost is estimated to be $1.6 million.”

In order to get things moving, the Council undertook several necessary steps. While a USDA loan will provide long-term financing for the project, short-term financing will be provided through a local bank. Council approved a resolution authorizing bank financing, saying the contract is preferable to a bond issue; the sums are not excessive; the debt management procedures and policies are good; and the financing will not involve any increase in taxes.

Interim financing proposals were submitted by First Bank (2.96 percent fixed interest), Crescom Bank (4.15 percent fixed interest/3.5 percent floating WSJ), and United Community Bank (3.73 percent fixed interest). Since First Bank and Crescom both included additional costs, the United Community proposal came in the lowest, which the Council approved.

A second resolution was passed establishing a goal for participation of minority business in construction projects.

W.K. Dickson will be the engineering firm for Phase II, after Council approved entering into an agreement for Dickson’s design, permitting, and construction management. The total amount for the agreement is $186,500 — which is approximately 8.57 percent of the estimated project costs.

In order to be able to extend fiber optic services to businesses and residents on the west end of Broad Street, Star Communications has requested to be included in the Phase II project. The company agreed to pay all associated costs.

“It just makes sense to do as much work as possible while you’re there,” offered Mayor Sylvia Campbell.

Council approved the change.

Phase II of the Downtown Revitalization project will include the burial of overhead utilities (power, cable, and telecommunications), replacement of sidewalks (mostly on the north side of the street), and replacement of wood pole street lighting with modern steel pole construction and decorative lights. The project will culminate in a planting of oak trees along the road, which will provide a living canopy for future generations to enjoy.

Construction bids are expected to open in July, according to Madden.

In other business, the board:

— Approved a 2018-19 budget.

— Recognized Paul R. Brown cadets for their second national championship win at the Pershing Rifles competition.

— Approved grant agreements with NCDOT for Ben Greene Industrial Drive extension and Aviation Parkway extension.

— Appointed Charles DeVane to the ABC Board, Chad DeVane to the Airport Commission, and Jessica Graham to the Housing Authority.

Council also approved changing the July meeting to the second Monday, so the next meeting of the Elizabethtown Town Council will take place Monday, July 9, at noon and at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber at the Municipal Building.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing ccarroll@bladenjournal.com.

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Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal