By Susan Dickson
CARRBORO â€“ Several months after the Carrboro Board of Aldermen agreed to pursue the construction of a public sewer line on East Main Street, town staff may have found a way to secure funding for the new line, estimated to cost $250,000.
Last August, a private sewer line began to discharge sewage in a parking lot behind businesses on the 100 block of East Main Street. A temporary fix was made to the line and owners of property on the south side of the block of Main Street from Armadillo Grill to Friendly Barber began working to fix the problem. Because the line in question is a private line, OWASA policies state that the utility is not responsible for maintaining it, leaving property owners responsible for the high-cost fix.
Without a long-term fix, the issue could force the closure of the restaurants and bar on the block.
On Tuesday, Carrboro economic-development director Annette Stone told board members that funding for the project could be available through the N.C. Department of Commerceâ€™s Small Business Entrepreneurial Assistance Grant Program, administered through the Division of Community Investment and Assistance. Through the program, funding is available to local governments to assist existing small businesses and entrepreneurs to expand, create or retain jobs.
â€œThe sewer thatâ€™s there, itâ€™s working today, but itâ€™s a real unknown if itâ€™s going to fail tomorrow or whether itâ€™s going to last 10 years,â€ Stone said.
Stone said the construction of the sewer would aid in the retention of more than 140 jobs at the 22 businesses on the block.
SBEA grants provide up to $250,000 in funding, but Stone suggested including local matching funds in the townâ€™s application in order to increase its chances of approval.
â€œThis is going to be competitive,â€ she said.
The town has also asked the Orange County Board of Commissioners for the countyâ€™s assistance in funding the project, possibly using funds from the new quarter-cent sales tax.
The town will hold another public hearing on the grant application on April 24.
In other action Tuesday night, the board reviewed plans for a realignment of Eubanks Road near the intersection with Old N.C. 86. Marty Roupe, town development review administrator, said the N.C. Department of Transportation had prepared four different alignments of Eubanks Road. The project would be funded by NCDOT.
â€œNCDOTâ€™s interest is primarily in improving safety at the intersection,â€ Roupe said, adding that because of the hill near the intersection, sight distance along Old N.C. 86 is limited.
NCDOTâ€™s preferred alignment would cross property owned by Parker Louis LLC, meeting N.C. 86 north of the current intersection. Omar Zinn, representing Parker Louis, said he supported the realignment, noting that safety improvements to the intersection would be imperative should he develop the property in the future.
Zinn said NCDOT has indicated they would like to construct the realignment during the summer months to avoid traffic issues with nearby Morris Grove Elementary School.
Board members said they would also like to consider a future roundabout at the intersection, and referred that matter to the town Transportation Advisory Board.