Grant would aid existing industry

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

Washington’s City Council will conduct a public hearing Monday on a proposal to apply for a grant to help upgrade the former Brooks Boatworks building in the Beaufort County Industrial Park.
Beaufort County wants to apply for a $320,000 Community Development Block Grant to help pay for the upgrade, which carries an estimated cost of $640,000, according to a document in the council’s tentative agenda for its meeting Monday. The city and county are partners in the industrial park, hence the city conducting the hearing on the proposal.
Oak Ridge Metal Works would benefit from the grant.
The eligible grant amount is based on a projection of 16 new jobs at $20,000 per job created by Oak Ridge Metal Works. The company had nine employees during 2012. The company will design and build automation equipment for industry.
The grant, if approved, would come from a grant fund that targets reuse of buildings such as the Brooks Boatworks building.
The council could approve the updated comprehensive plan during its meeting.
The plan was prepared to “articulate a vision for the community’s future and a road map for how to achieve that future,” reads the draft plan’s preface. The draft plan is organized around five major themes — downtown and the waterfront, economic development, community appearance, historic preservation and tourism, including eco-tourism.
“The plan both sets forth the long-term vision, and serves as a resource for day-to-day decision-making,” reads the preface.
Among the things a comprehensive plan addresses are land-use and zoning matters, along with other growth- and development-related issues, according to John Rodman, the city’s director of planning and community development. It also sets policies regarding those matters. The City Council has final say on the plan.
In the summer of 2011, the Planning Board decided it wanted a “fresh” comprehensive plan. The city awarded a $30,000 contract to Clarion Associates, a Denver-based firm with an office in Chapel Hill, to produce the plan.
One recommendation in the plan is to allow commercial use of the city’s docks.
Other recommendations call for continuing efforts to bring a hotel to the downtown area and improve public access to the water by building a pier for use by the community.
The plan — “Pride in the Past, Faith in the Future” — lists three initiatives that should be pursued first. They are:
• supporting efforts to promote the downtown/waterfront areas;
• actions that are feasible, inexpensive and relatively easy to complete quickly;
• new opportunities to implement and pursue medium- and long-range ideas.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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