Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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Burlington to seek grant to cover land purchase from Gibsonville

Burlington’s city council has given city staff members the go-ahead to apply for a federal grant to cover part of the purchase price for some land that the town of Gibsonville currently owns along Lake Mackintosh.

During a regularly-scheduled meeting last Tuesday (Sept. 21), the council agreed to seek up to $500,000 from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to cover roughly 43 percent of the price for the 130-acre tract that Gibsonville owns off of Wheeler Bridge Road.

Under a proposal that city staff members had shared with the council a day earlier, Burlington would ultimately need up to $1,167,000 to acquire this now-vacant real estate from Gibsonville in order to use the land as a preserve for outdoor recreational use.

Aside from a potential subsidy from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, staff members told the council that Burlington could also receive some financial assistance from Guilford County for this particular venture. In fact, city staff members observed that the county’s elected leaders had already signed off on their own grant application to the same federal fund that the city council later agreed to solicit.

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During a city council work session last Monday, Cheryl Brown, Burlington’s interim assistant city manger, urged the council to follow Guilford County’s lead in applying for revenue from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“Our lobbyist strongly suggested that we apply for the grant,” Brown went on to inform the council that evening “The LCWF grant does require dollar-for-dollar matching funds and a commitment to match the grant,” she added, “and our water resources capital reserve fund would be tapped for that amount.”

Brown noted that the federal government’s potential largesse can only be used to acquire one parcel of land at a time. She added, however, the town of Gibsonville has a second lot some 29 acres in size that it has also expressed a desire to unload. Brown added that Burlington may be able to split the cost of the second parcel with Guilford County if it’s unable to obtain another grant to cover its purchase.

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