11/17/04 — Fremont to apply for $620,000 grant

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Fremont to apply for $620,000 grant

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on November 17, 2004 2:00 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont town board agreed to seek a $620,000 grant to remove dilapidated homes on Black Street. The town's share would be $35,000 over three years.

David Harris, the town's grant project manager from R.S.M. Harris Associates of Goldsboro, said he had surveyed the town looking for homes and areas that would meet the state's new criteria for replacement or renovation.

"You don't have neighborhoods with dirt streets, failing septic systems, contaminated wells or homes needing to be demolished," Harris said.

But he said one narrow block of Black Street, between Branch and South streets, might qualify. The needs, he said, were housing, storm drainage and street repair, but not water and sewer lines. The income levels of the residents, he said, also met the state criteria.

While the outsides of the homes appeared all right, Harris said, the homes were in "extremely bad condition" on the inside. He said some rooms on the inside had been shut off because of leaking roofs.

All but one house on the block, he said, qualified for replacement. Several other houses on the street were torn down years ago.

Harris said the grant request was for $500,000, but the town could apply for an additional 15 percent that could be set aside for use elsewhere. He suggested a total request of $620,000, with a minimum 5 percent match from the town.

Sam Pierce, a former town alderman, said the project, if funded, would "bring up a blighted area and bring in more tax dollars."

In other business, the town board:

*Granted permanent status to Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie with a 5 percent pay raise.

*Approved the slate of new officers, headed by Fire Chief Donnie Wilkerson, for the Fremont Volunteer Fire Department.

*Approved mutual aid agreements with the Pikeville and Kenly volunteer fire departments.

*Decided to reconsider a mowing contract for town cemeteries and parks and to readvertise it.

*Listened to a complaint from James Haire about drug dealing near his home on Lee Street. Mayor Devone Jones said the town would investigate.