The city of Havelock is taking a proactive approach with federal funding, hoping to attract future economic development and industry.
With the help of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, the city has chosen to upgrade its water and sewer systems, not only to better assist residents and current business owners but to attract more.
Through ARP funding, the city will receive approximately $6,327,420 and will use the majority of it to upgrade the systems. The American Rescue Plan was passed by the United States Congress on March 10, 2021, and signed into law on March 11, 2021.
The city received $3,163,709.53 on July 21, 2021, and anticipates receiving the same amount on July 22, according to Lee Tillman, director of finance.
Other portions of the ARP funds will be used for smaller projects throughout the city. Below is a list of several of the main projects that will be upgraded.
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- Highway 70 Sewer Outfall – $3 million
- Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project, upgrading the city’s water meter system – $2 million
- Sewer Plant Well – $750,000
- Sewer SCADA System – $400,000
- Emergency Management Employee Shelter Upgrades – $75,000
- Building Ventilation Systems – $75,000
- Personal Protective Equipment – $27,419
Utilizing the ARP funds also means saving taxpayers’ money with how the city could have funded the projects. Instead of taking out a small interest loan to address the water and sewer issues, the one-time ARP payment funds the project without the city needing to increase taxes explained City Manager Chris McGee.
Havelock’s water and sewer needs are not an issue that arose recently but more so in the past. McGee said the city staff has been working to address the need before his arrival in January.
For a number of years, the city has had issues with groundwater getting into the sewer system, explained McGee. The additional gallons of the groundwater meant it also had to be treated which impacted the city’s capacity to support economic expansion.
The upgrade will remove the groundwater from the sewer system while allowing the ability to provide adequate services to new or expanding businesses that may consider Havelock as a destination to grow.
“The credit goes to the staff,” said McGee. “I am excited for what this is going to do for the community and economic development. There was a big list of what we could spend the funds on and we thought it would be best to spend ours on big infrastructure projects.”
Havelock’s infrastructure upgrades are another notable project in attracting economic development to the city and Craven County.
Between Raleigh and Morehead City, U.S. 70 is currently undergoing upgrades and will soon become Interstate 42 in the next couple of years. McGee added he expects an increase in passenger and freight movement in the area.
With this in mind, the city is also looking into expanding its sewer system two to three miles west heading to New Bern.
“There is quite a bit of property that has potential both residential and commercial,” said McGee. “There is a significant bit of property towards the railroad that could potentially also come commercial property and could utilize the railroad itself.
There is also a $167.2 million future Havelock Bypass which will play a key role in how and where Havelock can grow.
The bypass may become a viable spot for commercial or even light industrial use with quick access to future I-42 and would be attractive to things like trucking companies or warehouses.
The biggest industry the city is hoping to attract is commercial industry that provides military support. To go along with that, McGee and staff are also searching for growth opportunities to help expand Havelock’s identity outside of the military.
“It is a long-term process but we are thinking about what other businesses could we attract that would support the need for new homes, neighborhoods, businesses,” said McGee. “We want Havelock to be a place for people to work and play.
The Havelock Board of Commissioners approved the project ordinance in January and now McGee said the city is in the design process with the bidding process to follow. McGee added it is his hope construction for all of the ARP projects will be completed before June 2026.
Reporter Trevor Dunnell can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider supporting local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription.