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Kenly receives $2M to raze former town hall, replace water tower

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KENLY — Town Manager Michael Douglas says Kenly will receive $2 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and loan funds to tear down the former town hall and replace its water tower.

The funding package includes a $1,153,000 USDA rural development grant and $983,000 rural utilities service loan. That money is earmarked for demolishing the former Kenly Town Hall building at 206 W. Second St., demolishing and removing the old water tower and installing a new 100,000-gallon single pedestal elevated water storage tank.

“This is awesome,” said Douglas. “It means we will be able to remove the old tower that was built sometime in the early 1930s and get a modern water tower.”

The town of Kenly applied for USDA funding following an inspection performed in 2017 that was paid for with a search grant after the town determined it had serious problems with its water tower.

Douglas said the town received an email on Aug. 7 saying the requested funds had been obligated, meaning the money would be there regardless of any changes to the federal budget.

According to Douglas, a USDA representative came to Town Hall in September to present a letter from the agency explaining the conditions that need to be met.

“The best part about the project is it will result in no additional increase in taxes for our residents,” said Douglas.

The town manager previously said the project will provide better control of the water age within the town’s public water supply and to control disinfection byproducts, provide additional water pressure and create a green space or area to be used for public events in the central business district.

Douglas said the loan will be repaid through the enterprise fund, meaning water and sewer accounts, over a 40-year period and will be secured through a revenue bond.

The USDA’s rural development office will negotiate the bond purchase with the town of Kenly and the N.C. Local Government Commission.

“We hope the project will be able to go to bid in January or February and bids could be awarded as early as next summer,” Douglas said.

In the meantime, Douglas said the town engineer has already begun discussions with a developer on a design for the new water tower.