11/18/13 — County to weigh cemetery land buy

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County to weigh cemetery land buy

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 18, 2013 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners on Tuesday will consider the purchase of slightly more than 51 acres on Long's Plant Farm Road to be used for the establishment of a veterans cemetery.

The Wayne Development Alliance has an option to purchase the land that consists of two tracts of property for $460,053.

One 14.937-acre tract is located on the west side of Long's Plant Farm Road. The second tract of 36.18 acres is located on the east side of the road and adjoins 26.3 acres that already is owned by the Development Alliance that will be part of the cemetery as well.

The Development Alliance will either assign its option or convey the property to the county after it is purchased.

Wayne County will pay for the property and intends to convey all three tracts to the state for the establishment of a veterans cemetery.

Tuesday's meeting will begin with an agenda briefing at 8 a.m. followed by the board session at 9 a.m. Both will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

The cemetery, which will be built and maintained by the state, would be located off Longs Plant Farm Road east of Goldsboro off of U.S. 70.

The purchase would come just a month after the announcement that the state is expected to be awarded a $6 million federal grant for the project.

"Certain things," such as an environmental assessment, have to be completed before the grant is awarded, County Manager Lee Smith said. The state has appropriated $600,000 for that study.

Efforts to have the cemetery built have been ongoing for six years. Former county commissioner Andy Anderson has championed the project all the way to Capitol Hill.

The cemetery will not only pay tribute to veterans, but will help protect Seymour Johnson Air Force Base by helping control encroachment around the base, commissioners have said.

It will have an economic impact as well, they said.

Smith said he has asked officials in other parts of the state about the impact the cemeteries have had on their communities.

The economic impact, once the cemetery is established, is expected to be $4 million to $5 million annually, he said.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday:

Wayne County Health Director Davin Madden will present the department's 2013-16 Strategic Plan.

Kevin Johnson, Wayne County Cooperative Extension director, will present a Farm-City Week proclamation designating Nov. 25-29 as Farm-City Week.

Smith will review financial information concerning North Carolina's Eastern Region funds that are available for local projects.

Public comments will be taken at 10 a.m. People will have four minutes to speak on their topic of choice.