05/27/04 — Bowden votes to incorporate

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Bowden votes to incorporate

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 27, 2004 1:56 PM

WARSAW -- A group of residents in the Bowdens community in Duplin County have voted to form a town.

About 40 people voted unanimously Tuesday night during a meeting at the Bowdens Presbyterian Church.

The incorporation movement began when residents feared that the former Georgia-Pacific sawmill would become a hog-rendering plant.

Allen Holmes, the group's chairman, said state Rep. Larry Bell has promised to introduce a local bill in the legislative session that begins in December, calling for incorporation of Bowdens.

Holmes said incorporation would cost about $10,000 for legal fees and about $2,500 for a map showing the boundaries of the town.

The town could contract for services such as law enforcement and water. It would also have to provide services, like fire protection, sewer, street maintenance.

The town's boundaries would go about half way to Warsaw and about half way to Faison. The town's population would have to be at least 250 to incorporate.

Meanwhile, Smithfield Foods continues to deny that it is considering a rendering plant for the old sawmill.

Georgia-Pacific sold all of the buildings and equipment at the site Saturday at an auction, but the land has not been sold yet, said James Malone in the corporate communications office at Georgia-Pacific.

Malone said a contract is being completed with an interested buyer. He would not reveal who the buyer is other than to say it is not Smithfield Foods.

A Smithfield Foods official sent a letter to the Duplin County manager dated May 7 saying the company had "no interest in purchasing or developing a facility of any kind" on the land.

The county commissioners have also gone on record opposing a hog-rendering plant in the county.

But the group is not convinced.

Holmes said, "Big corporations do not have feelings. They don't care. They will tell you things that are not true."

Bonnie and Claude Ward with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League encouraged the group to seek incorporation. Ward said he believes every community should be incorporated, because if it doesn't, it will become a target. Incorporating would put the control in the community's hands, he said.

"The incorporation will help you determine your future," he said.