Ellerbe Mayor James “Buddy” Cooper said he thinks the Ellerbe-Rockingham-Richmond County Wastewater Regionalization Project is more than half-way completed.
The regional wastewater project is an endeavor to retire Ellerbe’s outdated lagoon treatment system and expand a sewer line from Ellerbe to Rockingham along Highway 220. Rockingham is prepared to take on the extra influx of sewage, and the sewer line expansion will allow Highway 220 to receive more development.
The regional wastewater project will cost approximately $6 million. According to former mayor Olivia Webb, the Town of Ellerbe contributed $500,000 to the project, Richmond County contributed $500,000, the Golden LEAF Foundation contributed $1 million, the North Carolina Rural Center contributed $847,600, and the USDA grants totalled $3,150,000.
“Things are running smoothly,” said Cooper on Tuesday. “The sewer is about 80 percent completed. If all goes well, it should be finished by June, and it will be great for us.”
Cooper said this is the biggest project Ellerbe has ever undertaken, both physically and financially.
In other news, Cooper:
• Said the Town Council of Ellerbe will have several board seat vacancies. Cooper vacated a four-year term to take the mayor seat after Webb resigned, and Archie Robinson was appointed to fill the unexpired four-year term left by former Councilman Jim Lane when he resigned. Brenda Chambers’ seat as well as Evon Craven’s seat will open in November, leaving only John Sears on the council. Candidates will be able to file for election in July, and new council members as well as a new mayor will be elected in November.
• Explained that Ellerbe’s Main Street is having rain drainage issues, which is causing water to come up into the front doors of businesses and a church. On-going discussions with the North Carolina Department of Transportation involve possibly replacing the original drains along Highway 220.
• Mentioned that Ellerbe will require new water lines in some areas, which will be addressed with grant searches once the sewer project is complete.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.