By Steve Reed
firstname.lastname@example.org | 919-740-6834
SELMA — Transportation and education will play key roles in the town of Princeton’s growth.
Princeton Mayor Don Rains said the town would have two interchanges when U.S. 70 becomes Interstate 42.
The town of Princeton joined the Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce in August. The chamber held last week’s State of the Region luncheon, where Rains made his comments, at the Sysco Raleigh plant in Selma.
“The interchange at U.S. 70 and U.S. 70A will be the western entrance to Princeton and the Pearl St/Edwards Road interchange at the Bojangles’ area will be eastern entrance,” said Rains. “Both locations will allow commerce to grow as well as easy access by local residents and the traveling public.”
Rains said water and sewer lines are near both interchanges. Three subdivisions are planned in Princeton.
“Having top-tier local schools in Princeton make our town a desired community in which to live and raise families,” said Rains. “We’re uniquely located between Goldsboro and Clayton and near the Triangle.”
Rains said the downtown business community is 80 percent occupied.
“We need to work harder on additional commercial and industrial sites to expand our economic footprint,” said Rains.
The town received a $25,000 grant from the Johnston County Visitors Bureau to help renovate the Princeton Community Building at 106 N. Center St.
“The proposed new design will have a large room for a community library and arts center and well as two smaller meeting rooms for other community needs,” said Rains. “A campaign for naming rights will assist in the funding.”
The town is just wrapping up a three-year, $400,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency brownfields assessment grant that provided funding for environmental assessment and spurred economic development, said Rains.
According to the EPA website, a brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.
“We’ve seen six properties sold with the redevelopment plan,” said Rains. “This will create at least 10 percent growth in our tax base over the next five years.”
Rains said the brownfields program has been so successful that Johnston County and the town of Pine Level will join Princeton in applying for another EPA grant in 2019.
“This will help us expand our success further into eastern Johnston County,” said Rains.
The town has received $800,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the General Assembly, the Golden Leaf Foundation and the N.C. Department of Transportation for drainage issues created by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
“In July, Princeton accepted financing for a $1.15 million water and sewer project, which included $840,000 in grants, to finish up wastewater treatment plant work,” said Rains. “With the completion of this project, Princeton will be poised to support growth and development as it comes our way.”