The N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency has awarded $17.7 million from the Infrastructure Recovery Program to local governments to repair and restore critical infrastructure in communities across the state. This federal long-term disaster recovery funding is being used to address local needs due to hurricane damage. Projects in seven counties will improve resiliency to future storms and rainy-day flooding.
Counties with active or completed projects include: Bladen, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Hyde, Nash and Robeson. In order to receive program awards, the community must be located in one of the counties eligible to receive HUD Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds due to damage from past hurricanes.
“Local governments have long handled these issues with patchwork fixes. For this project, CDBG-MIT funds were an ideal source to close the funding gap and move the projects to completion,” said Tracey Colores, NCORR’s director of community development. “The success of every infrastructure repair and recovery project is dependent on the town/county staff taking a very active role in the development of the projects. We couldn’t do this work without our local partners,” Colores added.
The three completed projects highlighted below illustrate the breadth of benefits being facilitated.
Town of Nashville Elm Street Stormwater Drainage – Nash County
Hurricane Matthew dropped nine inches of rain in Nashville, NC in a 24-hour period resulting in significant overflow to the Stoney Creek storm basin. The overflow caused enormous strain to the aging, undersized public storm drainage system causing dangerous road washouts and curbside gutter collapses. Over the next few months, additional system failures caused sinkholes to appear in portions of Elm Street and adjacent parking lots in downtown Nashville.
NCORR disaster recovery funds totaling $494,000 paid for construction activities, including new, enhanced drainage mitigation systems that will provide long-term positive impacts. This completed storm drainage reconstruction spans four blocks in downtown Nashville, as evidenced by newly paved roads with updated crosswalks and gutters to ensure that county offices, nearby businesses, a church and residential area are in a better position to withstand future storms. The project will also increase the flow capacity and lessen the risk of sedimentation obstructions and backflow into the Stoney Creek basin.
Additional funds for the project were provided by Golden LEAF Foundation and the Town of Nashville.
Fayetteville Community Resource Center – City of Fayetteville
The Fayetteville Community Resource Center received $4.99 million in funding to provide vital wrap-around services for the city’s unsheltered population and serve as an emergency shelter in the event of future natural disasters.
The city’s leadership was instrumental in advancing the project, with an eye to increasing the community’s capacity for disaster response and recovery. The day resource center will serve unhoused populations in a day-to-day capacity and will utilize the existing support structure when future disasters occur. The central location of the building will reduce transportation barriers to receiving needed support and shelter.
“After Hurricane Matthew, we had a lot of folks who were staying in rec centers and church fellowship halls who had nowhere to go. They were homeless before the event as well as after, and we don’t really have a lot of capacity for that in our community. So what we wanted to do was to use this facility as a dual purpose,” said Fayetteville Economic and Community Development Director Chris Cauley.
Magnolia Auditorium Demolition – Duplin County
The Magnolia Auditorium in Magnolia, NC was formerly used as a community gathering place until Hurricane Matthew blew portions of the roof off in 2016. The structure’s roof was still needing repair in 2018 when Hurricane Florence dumped a foot of rain on the site.
NCORR worked with the town staff to determine the town’s needs after the building was deemed irreparable. $136,500 in disaster recovery funds were used to demolish the auditorium in order to reopen the adjacent town recreational fields, which had been closed for use due to the proximity to the unsafe structure. The funding allowed for the clearing of debris and removing the structure and foundation and reseeding the ground. The Town of Magnolia will maintain the space.
Additional NCORR infrastructure recovery projects in progress include drainage infrastructure improvements and access and elevation projects at one wastewater treatment plant, and the installation of auxiliary power generators at multiple facilities. The Infrastructure Recovery Program webpage lists each of the funded projects, subrecipients, project locations, grant amount and completion status.
The Infrastructure Recovery Program is supported by North Carolina’s HUD Community Development Block Grant–Mitigation awarded following hurricanes Matthew and Florence. It is one of multiple programs overseen by NCORR through its Community Development Office, which also administers the Affordable Housing Development Fund, Multi-family Development Fund and Public Housing Restoration Fund. In addition to disaster recovery and affordable housing, NCORR manages programs that support resiliency, mitigation, strategic buyout, infrastructure, local government grants and loans, and pandemic-related rent and utility assistance.