08/14/14 — Transfer station project moving forward

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Transfer station project moving forward

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on August 14, 2014 1:46 PM

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Congressman G.K. Butterfield, left, shakes hands with Goldsboro Mayor Al King before ground is broken Wednesday on the new GATEWAY transfer center.

City officials, community members and Congressman G.K. Butterfield broke ground Wednesday on the new GATEWAY transfer center on Carolina Street.

The project was made possible by the TIGER V grant of $10 million, gifted to the city for the development of the community. It is expected to be completed by November 2015.

The city has applied for the TIGER V grant three times in the past, and this is the fifth round of grant awards for the program. Julie Metz, director of the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp., said Goldsboro was one of 27 communities to receive the grant, and that the city is competing with big cities for a $10 million grant instead of a $1 million grant.

"One of the key words in the TIGER grant program is that you have to be 'shovel-ready'," Ms. Metz said. "We worked hard to get everything to where we would be shovel ready, and construction should start within the next few weeks."

Outside of the work done on the proposal by city officials, Butterfield used his influence in Washington to help obtain the grant. He said former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was instrumental in getting the money.

Butterfield said LaHood wanted an even split in the distribution of TIGER grants between rural and urban areas. The trick was to get Goldsboro, a community of 37,000, to be classified as urban instead of rural.

"We had to find a legitimate, legal way to get Goldsboro classified as urban," Butterfield said. "LaHood told me he was going to work on finding a way to do that throughout the course of one weekend, and he called me that Monday and told me it had been taken care of, that Goldsboro was eligible for a $10 million grant."

Goldsboro received the money, and city officials agreed to the 25 percent match, bringing the total to nearly $14 million.

While Butterfield helped in Washington, he insisted credit be given to Mayor Al King and the city officials for coming up with a sound proposal.

"When Congressman Butterfield told us we received the grant, it was perhaps the only time I've seen tears in the mayor's eyes and Julie speechless," City Manager Scott Stevens said.

Butterfield has a personal connection to the former Union Station. His grandfather was a pastor at the First African Church in Goldsboro in 1915, even though he lived in Wilson.

"I used to wonder how he got from Wilson to Goldsboro," Butterfield said. "In my young mind, I thought maybe he walked or rode a bicycle. But then it hit me -- the way that man got here from Wilson is because he took the train, which stopped right here at Union Station."