Cumberland and Hoke could see $ 74.5 million for projects in Senate budget

Fayetteville and Hoke County could receive at least $ 74.5 million for special projects this fiscal year if the Senate budget is approved.

As part of the Senate preliminary budget, Sen. Ben Clark, a Democrat who represents Cumberland and Hoke counties, and Kirk deViere, a Democrat who represents Cumberland County, were able to secure at least $ 74.5 million in combined allocations for special projects, according to data in the budget documents that were first reported by The Insider, a government affairs-focused newsletter.

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Among the projects on the list are funds for infrastructure, including more than $ 4.3 million to repair roads in Fayetteville, $ 2.5 million to complete Martin Luther King Jr. Park and $ 500,000 to build a community health center in Cumberland.

It also offers space for recreational activities. Three million dollars could be spent on repairs and additions to the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum and $ 5 million could be spent on restoring the Cape Fear Regional Theater, the data shows.

The data also includes a potential award of $ 750,000 for Latino business development and $ 150,000 to scan the visitation wall in front of Fayetteville State University for the Umoja Group, a local non-profit organization focused on African, African-American and Caribbean culture.

According to The Insider’s data set, the largest projected allocation for the region – and the largest among all senators in the state – is $ 31 million which could be used to renovate the County Courthouse. Hoke, over 100 years old.

Clark said on Friday the building was “unsuitable for human habitation” with poor construction and chipped walls. If the money does eventually arrive, Clark said the plan was to raze the courthouse and build a new one.

The state of the Hoke County Courthouse and Jail was in such disarray that in 2019 the court system had to call in a grand jury to tell county officials the buildings needed to be replaced.

Some of the projects have fixed allocations over the next two years. Fayetteville Technical Community College can receive $ 20 million over the next two years to build a regional fire training center, according to the budget documents: $ 10 million should arrive this year and the other half could arrive the next. There is also an authorization of $ 20 million over the next four years for the construction of dormitories at Fayetteville State University, deViere said. According to budget documents, $ 2 million could go through this year’s budget and $ 5 million next year.

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Money intended for the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center is not included in Senate appropriations. The $ 80 million center that will be located just outside of downtown Fayetteville on Arsenal Avenue is still awaiting $ 46 million in state funding to go ahead with construction.

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While funding for the center has not been a priority for local senators during the last two budget processes, Clark said the request for funding could come to the House during the budget review. The House previously approved the $ 46 million the center needed in 2019, but when the budget was opposed by Gov. Roy Cooper and the Senate and House passed mini-budgets instead, the center no failed, said deViere.

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Clark said he was never asked to put money into the center and he would not have done so even if asked because he didn’t believe it was a priority. He said those who should be responsible for the funding are the ones pushing for the center. DeViere called it a “house project” and said he thought the funding could come from there.

The House is currently working on the budget. If the two bodies do not agree on the budget, it will go to a conference committee, where differences will be settled.

“This is a collaborative process,” Clark said. “At the end of the day, we will take into consideration what the Senate has published and what the House has published, as well as the governor’s demands, and I hope we can come to a mutually satisfactory agreement.”

Government watch reporter Abby Church can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @abbschurch.

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