Wednesday, August 4, 2021

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Gibsonville board sends $34M project wish list to Guilford Co. commissioners

Guilford County plans to give some of its $104 million in incoming federal funds to its municipalities

Gibsonville’s board of aldermen signed off last week on a wish list of $34.2 million in projects after Guilford County’s board of commissioners told the town, located in both Alamance and Guilford counties, that it would be willing to distribute some of the $104 million it plans to receive from the federal government.

The commissioners’ offer extends to all of the county’s municipalities, following a suggestion by the board’s chairman, Melvin “Skip” Alston, that the county distribute some of what it will receive under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) approved in March. Under that act, Gibsonville already plans to receive $2.15 million, which is set to be divided between a $2.09 million waterline extension down Highway 61 and $60,000 to replace revenue lost by the town not collecting recreation fees amid the pandemic.

Guilford County’s commissioners didn’t give municipalities like Gibsonville a monetary limit on their project funding lists, and will ultimately decide which projects, if any, the governing board will allocate funds for.

As is the case with the federal restrictions on how the ARPA funds can be used, the commissioners set up similar guidelines for the municipalities, leaving much of Gibsonville’s 17-item list comprised of infrastructure projects like water and sewer improvements and sidewalks.

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Also included are requests for new facilities or renovations, like $4.3 million to purchase land for and build a new library; a $750,000 senior center; $5.3 million for a new police headquarters; another $5.3 million for a fire department training center; and $2.5 million to renovate the fire station.

Recreational projects were a $650,000 splash pad and outdoor fitness equipment area; $1.3 million for a multi-purpose field on Tenth Street; and a $2 million multi-use path along Burlington Avenue, which was proposed in January during the board’s annual budget retreat.

While town manager Ben Baxley told The Alamance News that the town was given a deadline of 30 days from mid-April to draw up its list of requests, it was unclear at that time when the county might distribute any of the funds after they arrive in mid-June. It also hadn’t been disclosed to the town how much of the $104 million the county plans to keep for its own use.

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