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By: Charlotte Smith

Bladen County will continue to rebuild after being disfigured by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.  Eddie Madden, Elizabethtown Town Manager, announced plans for rebuilding and renovating structures after the town announced it had received grant funding for different projects.

The Lock and Dam No. 2 located in the town was severely damaged during the brutal storm last year.  There is a hole 60 feet deep and the length of a football field in the dam, according to Madden’s report.

Funding from the Fish and Wildlife Service will assist the Town of Elizabethtown with the repair work needed for the dam. The dam will be closed beginning sometime in November for construction to begin. Plans to re-open the dam are forecasted for March 2018.

A lot of progress has already been made in the Lock and Dam area for citizens to enjoy. Plans to continue making the site more appealing are still under way. The goal, according to Madden, is for the revitalized site to be a place for folks to camp when we have Cycle NC with 1,000 bikers pass through the town.

Hurricane Matthew also significantly damaged the old Elizabethtown Rescue Squad building. The Town Council of Elizabethtown announced the town had received a Golden Leaf Foundation grant for $2.5 million to fully fund construction of a shared space for the town’s rescue and fire departments. Read the full story here.

Terry Cox, the architect for the project, has helped come up with the plan for the project. The former Jessup Motors building on Broad Street in Elizabethtown will no longer be an eye sore, according to the new plan. Renovation of the building will take place over the next two years according to the officials.

“We have entered into a purchase agreement with Mr. Anderson, the current owner of the building. It should close in September,” Madden said.

According to the rough draft sketches Cox presented, the interior of the shared building will be a large open space. The former show room may still be a show room for the antique fire truck. There will be room for eight firefighters to sleep with additional sleeping quarters for rescue workers. 

Cox also mentioned the construction will include training space, a fitness area, a kitchen, training towers, and more.

“Once bids are in it will take about a year to build,” Cox said.

Engineers are coming in next week to examine and judge the existing building for potential renovation work. According to Madden, the grant does not restrict the destruction of the old building and building a new one. However, at this time the plan is to renovate the current building.

“If we can repurpose an old building and achieve what we want to achieve, we will work towards that,” Madden said.

The current facility being used as the town’s fire department will be repurposed for the public works to have more offices and areas to work in.