North Wilkesboro officials plan to open construction bids for a 500,000-gallon water storage tower in the town-owned Wilkes Industrial Park on Nov. 4.

Town Manager Wilson Hooper told the town’s commissioners during a work session Thursday that they would be asked to approve a winning bid during their Nov. 10 meeting to help the project stay on schedule.

Approval of a contract with the winning bidder is expected by January. Construction is expected to start this spring and be finished in the spring of 2022.

“We received strong interest from at least three firms who are very reputable, so we should be able to negotiate with them quickly and they should be able to fulfill our obligations,” said Hooper.

Hooper said the project, expected to cost a little over $2 million, has been “a long and laborious process” involving three funding sources. “This is a pretty important milestone for us.”

The town is funding it with a $1.25 million low interest loan from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, a $580,000 Community Development Block Grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce and a $200,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

The N.C. Department of Commerce grant was awarded on the basis of helping Charlotte-based JELD-WEN Inc. undertake an $8 million expansion of its door-skin (exterior facing) manufacturing operation in the industrial park and add at least 29 jobs by improving water pressure.

Corey King, project design engineer with Charlotte-based Kimley-Horn Inc., said via Zoom in the meeting Thursday, “All the permits are obtained and we’re in good standing with all these different (funding) parties. All the pieces are in place.”

King said the water tank will improve water pressure for fire safety sprinkler systems at JELD-WEN and elsewhere in the industrial park and improve hydraulics of the town water system from River Road-Liberty Grove Road to N.C. 268 East. That area is currently served by an elevated storage tank and 12-inch water main off Flint Hill Road.

The town hired Kimley-Horn to create an engineering report, manage the state approval process and conduct the construction bidding process. The town also hired Garner-based McAdams & Associates to manage the funding and grant applications.

A project delay of about two months resulted from permits having to be submitted to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration because the tank is within two miles of the Wilkes County Airport.

Nearby annexation

The owner of a 33.3-acre parcel about a quarter-mile from where the new water tower will be constructed requested voluntary satellite annexation into town limits.

The owner of the parcel, Ron Anderson (AAMA Investment Partners LLC) of Jacksonville, Fla., submitted an application for annexation. His broker earlier told town officials that if annexation was approved, the property would be marketed for multi-family or other residential development.

The undeveloped parcel is at the intersection of N.C. 268 East and River Road-Liberty Grove Road and behind Liberty Grove Baptist Church, about a mile and a half from town limits. It’s listed with a property tax value of $143,780.

If annexation is approved, the parcel would gain water service via the Broadway Water Association. The property already has access to town sewer service.

Hooper said a public hearing on the annexation would likely be scheduled on Nov. 10 and be held on Dec. 8. “Looking out long term, having municipal services in this area will prompt (economic) growth,” he said.

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