Co-ops & Community Jobs
Lumbee River EMC extends loans for projects in Robeson and Hoke counties
Lumbee River EMC is boosting a major upgrade for the Robeson County Detention Center and is likewise helping Hoke County complete a sewer service expansion project intended to attract considerable residential and commercial development along Hwy. 401.
For the Robeson County Detention Center, Lumbee River EMC added a $250,000 zero-interest loan that will improve the facility and save jobs. Of the Lumberton center's 139 employees, 55 of their jobs will be saved with this facility upgrade. The Red Springs electric co-op obtained the loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural development program.
A June 2011 visit by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services determined that the jail facility was overcrowded and deemed certain areas to be uninhabitable. The Detention Center faced potential closure if these violations were not resolved.
The modernization of the jail is expected to cost nearly $800,000. The county has already spent $110,000 as part of the first phase of this project and expects to spend a total of $682,240 in the second phase.
The cooperative is also providing an additional $50,000 zero-interest loan while Robeson County, in turn, is providing $382,240 to help purchase 71 energy efficient air conditioners to replace obsolete and non-functioning units at the facility, as well as new locks, lighting, wire mesh and an intercom system as part of the modernization project.
Hoke County sewer expansion
The Hoke County project involves a $60,000 LREMC matching zero-interest loan to Hoke County to complete a $14.6 million sewer service expansion project. The expansion includes a new wastewater treatment plant, pump equipment and supporting pipe infrastructure.
The treatment plant will add 1.5 million gallons per day to the county's wastewater treatment capacity, helping the county accommodate new economic development along the growing U.S. 401 Corridor, including new commercial, professional, industrial and high-density residential, and the development of health care services. Both the First Health and Cape Fear Valley health systems have planned multi-phase developments within this corridor in order to fill the growing need for access to health care services throughout Hoke County, which may also eventually include a full-scale hospital. These medical facilities are expected to create some 300 new jobs in Hoke County.
Rural Hoke County is currently one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina, largely as a result of its proximity to Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg, located partially within Hoke County, has been expanding rapidly in recent years due to new responsibilities assigned to the facility during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. As a result, Hoke County is experiencing significant new residential and commercial development, and the county is faced with maintaining its rural character while providing municipal services to accommodate this new growth.