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A Staff Report

The Town of Bladenboro is on the cusp of a transformational period, driven by several ambitious projects to enhance its infrastructure and overall quality of life for its residents. According to Blake Proctor, Town of Bladenboro Interim Administrator and Commissioner, these initiatives promise to enhance the Town. The Capital Improvement Program has four key components, each addressing critical aspects of the Town’s needs.

1. Underground Utilities Program – Aesthetic Enhancement for Downtown

The heart of any town is its downtown area, and Bladenboro’s Downtown Revitalization Program recognizes the importance of this area. According to Proctor, with generous financial support from the Federal Economic Development Agency (EDA), the State Legislature (OSBM), and Bladen County (through Bladen’s Bloomin’), the program aims to reimagine the downtown commercial area completely. As part of this ambitious project, the removal of above-ground telephone lines and their poles is a significant step forward. This enhances the aesthetics of the new construction and represents a step towards modernizing the Town’s infrastructure. The total cost for this endeavor is estimated at $80,000.

2. AMR Water Meter Changeout Program – Efficient Water Management

One of the Town’s most pressing issues is water loss, a staggering 661,000 gallons per month. The AMR Water Meter Changeout Program is poised to address this challenge by replacing all 1,110 of the Town’s 40+-year-old manual-read water meters with automatically-read (AMR) meters. This transformation will lead to many benefits, including a reduction in “line loss,” increased water and sewer revenues, and significant savings in employee hours spent reading meters manually. Furthermore, this initiative aligns with a Federal Environmental Protection Agency mandate, further highlighting its importance. The total investment in this program is $385,000.

Proctor confirmed that a company out of Loris, South Carolina, won the Water Meter Changeout project bid.

“Residents of Bladenboro need to be aware that their water bills may increase after this project is complete because the current meters are faulty,” Proctor noted.

3. Drainage Enhancement Program – Mitigating Flooding Woes

For over a century, certain areas of the Town have grappled with recurring flooding during heavy rainfalls. The Drainage Enhancement Program is set to tackle this issue head-on. It encompasses three major drainage projects, including the installation of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes and the capital repair of roadways. These projects aim to prevent flooding in crucial areas like Pine Ridge Circle, Wateree Park, and West Carolina Avenue, thereby improving the quality of life for residents and bolstering property values. The total cost of the Drainage Enhancement Program is $225,000.

4. Enhanced Street Resurfacing Program – Smoother Roads Ahead

Maintaining the Town’s streets has been a persistent challenge. The Enhanced Street Resurfacing Program intends to change that. While the State Powell Bill provides annual funding for streets maintenance, this program offers an additional surge of investment, allowing for the resurfacing of numerous streets in dire need of repair. This initiative promises to revitalize the Town’s road network and improve transportation for all residents. The program’s budget stands at $247,500.

Proctor did say the streets that will receive improvement will be determined at a later date. His plan is to take two Town employees on a Saturday to inspect each town road and then make a “Street Condition Matrix” to determine which streets will receive maintenance.

The Proctor and the Town’s commitment to its infrastructure is evident through these four vital programs. These initiatives will enhance the Town’s aesthetics, improve water management, mitigate flooding, and provide smoother roads for all residents. As these projects progress, the Town’s future looks bright, promising its citizens a better quality of life and continued economic growth.

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