With goals to bring more development to western Pender County, officials are looking for the best engineer to design a sewer extension project along the U.S. 421 corridor.
Kenneth Keel, public utilities director, made a presentation to the Pender Board of Commissioners during a Monday meeting about the need stretching from Pender Commerce Park to Blueberry Road. One of the things that makes building in the area difficult is the lack of sewer service.
“From previous discussions with the board, I know the board has shown interest in trying to help develop it along in the western part of the county,” Keel said. “We’re not growing as quickly as the eastern part. One of the ways to accomplish that is to extend sewer to more places in the western part of the county.”
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, most of the population growth occurred in the county’s eastern region such as Hampstead, Surf City and Topsail Beach.
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Towns in western Pender County such as Burgaw and Canetuck, decreased. With improved infrastructure, Pender County leaders are hoping to see a boos. It may also attract more developers.
“There has also been some interest shown by a property owner along Blueberry Road to begin a primarily residential sizable development in the area, but the lack of public sewer is a major roadblock,” officials stated in the presentation.
To start, Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will be sent out for professional engineering services to install a wastewater pump station facility near the intersection of Blueberry Road and U.S. 421. Construction of a force main from the station to the existing wastewater plant near the Pender Commerce Park, just off the southern border of Pender County. The length of the proposed main is 5 miles within the U.S. 421 right-of-way.
“This plant currently serves only the Pender Commerce Park, but Pender County desires to expand its service area to encourage development along the U.S. 421 corridor,” officials stated.
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The request to move forward with the RFQ was unanimously approved by board members. Officials would like to bring a contract back to the board in early December. The cost of the project is unknown now, but Keel said staff will get the search process started through advertisement, evaluation and negotiations.
Reporter Chase Jordan can be reached at [email protected]