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By Erin Smith

The Bladen County Commissioners will conduct a public hearing on Tuesday, January 2nd, for the  Community Development Block Grant’s Small Business and Entrepreneurial Assistance Grant Program grant No. 11-C-2332 in the amount $250,000. The purpose of the hearing is to close out the grant and to review the budget and activities which were accomplished with this grant.

Bladen County Economic Development Director Chuck Heustess said the grant funds were utilized for the Carroll Poultry project in Bladenboro.

“The County and Bladen’s Bloomin’ Agri-Industrial applied for the grant,” said Heustess.

He explained Bladen’s Bloomin’ used $235,000 to purchase an industrial boiler, a large air  compressor, an electrical panel for manufacturing and some tanks. Heustess said the equipment was lease/purchased to Carroll Poultry. This project produced 70 jobs of which 40 benefitted low to moderate income individuals.

Heustess said $10,000 was spent on small business items such as assisting the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce with upgrading their website and assisting with items for the small business incubator in Elizabethtown. The Lumber River Council of Governments received $5,000 to administer the grant.

Heustess said the grant was originally obtained for Superior Media to perform modifications to the building in Bladenboro, but they closed. He said the grant had a job creation requirement of 10 jobs and county officials were trying to find another project for the funds. Heustess that is  when officials with Carroll Poultry contacted his staff seeking a place to locate a poultry plant. He said as they discussed their facility needs it was learned the plant needed similar equipment as the Superior Media project.

Heustess said state officials worked with the county and allowed the funds for the Superior Media project to be utilized to assist Carroll Poultry instead.

“They actually created 70 jobs,” said Heustess of Carroll Poultry.

Heustess said the project benefitted the county as well as Carroll Poultry. As  the grant funds are paid back to Balden’s Bloomin’, Heustess said they can be used for the benefit of other economic development projects.

The Public Hearing is scheduled for January 2, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room in the basement of the Bladen County Courthouse in Elizabethtown. Citizens are encouraged to attend.

For additional information call 910-862-6701 or to submit written comments, send to Greg Martin, Bladen County Manager at P.O. Box 1048, Elizabethtown, NC 28337. Comments should be postmarked by Tuesday, December 26, 2017.

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