First Posted: 5/30/2009
PILOT MOUNTAIN It is the season for commencement ceremonies, and even a slew of Surry Countys projects had one of their own on Friday.
Michael Almond, who serves on the Golden LEAF board of directors, told an audience of about 40 at a ceremony to present checks totaling $2 million for Surry County projects that the event was really a graduation ceremony.
A lot of these speeches are in connection with commencement, he said at the former Amos and Smith Building in Pilot Mountain. This is Surry Countys graduation. Think of this as a commencement, which is a graduation, but also the beginning of executing these projects. At Golden LEAF, nothing succeeds like success.
The ceremony consisted of county and municipal officials who were presented checks as part of Golden LEAFs Community Assistance Initiative. The grant money will go toward water/sewer infrastructure and workforce training.
The foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999. It receives one-half of North Carolinas funds from the 1998 master settlement agreement with cigarette manufacturers and emphasizes assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The foundation has awarded 762 grants totaling more than $374 million since its inception.
Surry County agencies have twice received Golden LEAF money. Most recently Surry County officials learned in March they were awarded $2,064,000 from the Golden LEAF Foundation as a result of a grant application process which began in 2008.
The six projects that will be funded through grants totaling $2.06 million include:
Mount Airy will receive $86,000 to complete a detailed design for a planned sewer force main that will connect Mount Airys waste water treatment system to a pump station located at Intestates District, including I-77, I-74 and N.C. 89 interchanges.
Mount Airy will also receive $110,000 for Mount Airy and Pilot Mountain to work together with other municipalities to market and deliver water to new customer populations, due to excess capacity.
Surry Community College will receive $800,000 to assist the college with establishment of Centers for Learning, Education and Retraining in Pilot Mountain and Elkin to help address increasing unemployment and local educational access.
Surry County will receive $150,000 to assist with the construction of a water line from Tobe Hudson Road to an existing agri-business on Oak Grove Church Road. The project will provide public water to Bottomley Evergreen and Farms.
Surry County will also receive $200,000 to support the countys efforts to install a water line and sewer force main from Elkins existing water and sewer systems to the proposed location site of Fibrowatt, a bio-fuels generating company.
Pilot Mountain will receive $718,613, to assist Pilot Mountain and Elkin with the establishment of a Surry Community College Satellite training location in each town.
Dr. Deborah Friedman, the president of Surry Community College, said she was excited about the colleges next step to help the community rebuild its workforce.
Surry Community College is about jobs, she said. We will be establishing centers in Pilot Mountain and Elkin that will help the undereducated and unemployed join the workforce in the community with a fitting education. This will strengthen our community. This is an important to create hope.
These centers will create opportunities to upgrade personal and professional skills for existing industries … we can make sure the workforce is ready for the community through education, she continued.
Lestine Hutchens, the mayor of Elkin, said she was glad that Golden LEAF supports agencies in North Carolina.
Golden LEAF gave us the team skills to work together, the richness of the sessions made us better, she said. We will make you proud of this opportunity with the money you have given us.
Surry County Commissioner Dr. Jim Harrell said he wanted to reiterate a comment made earlier in the ceremony that receiving the grant money is not the end of the road for these Surry County projects.
Im excited about all the projects. Receiving the money is just as important as the projects themselves, he said.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.