11/20/13 — County approves cemetery land buy

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County approves cemetery land buy

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 20, 2013 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved the purchase of slightly more than 52 acres on Long's Plant Farm Road to be used for the establishment of a veterans cemetery.

Commissioners also accepted another 26.3 acres owned by the Wayne Development Alliance, which are adjacent to the property in question and will be part of the cemetery.

The county will spend $426,070 to purchase two tracts of land from Harry and Mollie (Ivey) LLC, a Goldsboro real estate investment firm managed by Ted E. Ivey and Robert W. Ivey.

One 14.49-acre tract is located on the west side of Long's Plant Farm Road. The second tract of 35.74 acres is located on the east side of the road and adjoins the land donated by Development Alliance.

The county will use a portion of $1.87 million in county money now held by North Carolina's Eastern Region to purchase the property. The Eastern Region will be phased out by the summer as the state moves to new economic development agencies.

Commissioners said they need to make the request for the money as soon as possible.

The cemetery will be built and maintained by the state, which is anticipating a $6 million federal grant for the project.

The state has appropriated $600,000 for a study of the project.

County officials said the veterans cemetery will be a fitting tribute to heroes, but will provide other benefits as well, including limiting encroachment around Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

There is a financial benefit as well, they said.

"The direct and indirect impact to our county after it is built, folks are visiting that park, is over $6 million a year," County Manager Lee Smith said. "That is with visitation, overnight stays and payroll, which is pretty substantial."

Smith said he has verified those numbers with state veterans groups as well as with local and state tourism officials.