Pilot Light: Riverbend Timeline Remains Uncertain
Although prospects for a $600,000 federal grant for the Riverbend community appear bright, the timeline is uncertain.
The Moore County Board of Commissioners approved submission of the grant application at a December meeting. The grant is requested to rebuild a bridge and provide road improvements on Autumn Drive in Riverbend, a private development where the only public highway access was washed out by torrential rains from Tropical Storm Hanna in September.
Tim Emmert, community development planner with the Department of Planning, said he has received no timeline from the Division of Community Assistance, an agency of the N.C. Department of Commerce. He was not advised when the division will approve or deny the application.
Unlike other community development block grants, this one is based on need and not on merit. Nor is an incentive match from the local community required to draw down these federal funds, which are allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the state. The grant money is then distributed to local governments by the state agency.
DILEMMA -- The September washout at Riverbend turned into a problem for the county and the state as well as for the stranded Riverbend residents, most of whom live in manufactured housing.
State law prohibits counties from spending tax money on road improvements on private property. Riverbend is a private development, as are all roads within the subdivision. For this reason, the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) could not take over maintenance of Autumn Drive.
An effort to secure federal disaster funds also fell through because Moore was not among the counties covered by the governor's disaster proclamation for Hurricane Hanna.
A temporary fix was provided by the state Forestry Service, with assistance from NCDOT, in the form of a makeshift bridge placed above the culvert where an earthen dam was washed away. The temporary bridge was inadequate with some crucial services unavailable. Riverbend has since contracted with a private builder to provide a more substantial but still temporary bridge at the site.
If the grant is approved, funds should be sufficient to build an adequate bridge and make improvements to Autumn Road near the bridge. Those improvements should bring the thoroughfare up to state road standards, thus allowing NCDOT to assume maintenance of the road in the future.
CANCELLATIONS -- With the holiday season upon us, Moore County has canceled most meetings for the remainder of the year.
The Board of Commissioners has canceled the work session usually held on the third Thursday of each month. The Government Efficiency Advisory Board has also canceled a meeting scheduled for today.
The regular third Monday meeting of the commissioners was earlier removed from the board schedule. The next meeting will be held Jan. 5.
COBLE -- Congressman Howard Coble is in the Christmas spirit.
He rode in Christmas parades in Ramseur and Stokesdale Saturday and attended the American Legion holiday party in Liberty that night.
On Monday, Coble toured the Red Oak Brewery in Whitsett and sat for a portrait at Ambleside Gallery in Greensboro. Later that night he addressed Boy Scout Troop 426 in Greensboro.
Coble, a Greensboro Republican, represents the Sixth District, which includes Moore County.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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