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Area residents check out proposed water/sewer line project

June 19 2015

Courier Tribune

Over 100 people came out to the public information meeting for the Greensboro-Randolph megasite water/sewer project, held at Providence Grove High School Thursday. For over an hour, they reviewed maps and queried government officials and project representatives.

A brief presentation was held at 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., but Bonnie Renfro, Randolph County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) president, said people started showing up at 5 p.m.

Hal Johnson, county manager, led off the presentations.

“This is your opportunity to interact with the professional staff for this project and ask them, ‘What does this mean to me?’ ” he said.

Renfro said most of the people seemed to be interested in seeing where their property was located along the proposed route of the water sewer lines. David Parrish, Greensboro assistant city manager, told the group the water/sewer lines would likely run along existing roads – U.S. 64, U.S. 421 and Old 421.

The megasite is expected to require 8,800 linear feet of water line, 43,000 linear feet of sewer lines and a sewer lift station. Most of the construction would happen in Guilford County. Parrish told attendees the project is still in its early stages of design, surveys and environmental studies. Any construction is probably 12-18 months out in the future, he said.

Karen and Keith Hobbes came to the meeting, but they have already sold their property to developers.

“We were planning to sell and move anyway,” Karen said. “This just turned out to be good timing for us.”

Donna Shoffner has land on Julian Airport Road. She wanted to know more about where water and sewer lines would go and if they would affect her property. She said she is not opposed to the megasite.

“I’m not against it,” she said. “Randolph County needs help. It needs the jobs.”

Linda Parsells lives just outside the city limits of the southeastern side of Greensboro. She was more interested in the possible impact of a megasite on Greensboro’s water supply. Steve Drew, Greensboro water resource director, explained to her how the city gets its water.

Roughly 15 years ago, following many years of drought, Greensboro struggled to supply the water needs of its citizens, he said. Since that time the city has worked to build water lines from Reidsville and Burlington. It has managed its reservoirs to maximize capacity, he said. Add to that the water allotment the city gets from Randleman Lake. Greensboro now has over 60 million gallons a day (mgd) of capacity and only used 32 mgd, he said.

Alan Ferguson, Northeast Property Owners organization chair, said he didn’t hear anything at Thursday’s meeting that he hadn’t already heard. Despite years of working to prevent the project from moving forward, he and others have watched it progress.

The next option for opponents might be in the courts, he said.

“There is no public use or public benefit (for the proposed water/sewer lines) under North Carolina law,” he said, adding Greensboro cannot spend tax dollars on such a project under the speculation that it might eventually become a benefit.

Still, until the city actually begins the process of acquiring or attempting to take land for a right-of-way for the water/sewer lines, Ferguson said opponents will have to wait and keep an eye on the project’s progress.

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