Polk applies for grant to get water to proposed restaurant in Green Creek

Published 12:43 pm Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Polk commissioners have agreed to apply for a grant to help get water to a planned restaurant in Green Creek at the former Hwy. 9 location of Crossroads Restaurant, which burned about two years ago.

Commissioners agreed unanimously on Monday to apply for a N.C. Rural Center grant to pay for half of the estimated $40,000 to $50,000 it would take to extend a water line in the area.

The N.C. Rural Center grant is a 50/50 match that is based on job creation. A restaurant would create a sufficient number of new jobs and qualifies for the grant funding, county officials said.

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Commissioner vice-chairman Ray Gasperson suggested the county apply for the grant. He introduced Jason Schlabach, who is planning the restaurant.

[The proposed restaurant is] wonderful news, especially for the Green Creek/Sandy Plains community, Gasperson said. What is being planned fits beautifully with the Vision 20/20 plan.

Gasperson said since the Crossroads restaurant burned, people in the area have lost their meeting place. He also said the countys Vision 20/20 pinpoints that location as prime for development.

The countys main water line runs through the crossroads in Green Creek at Hwy. 9. The proposed restaurant site is on Hwy. 9 north of that crossroads.

Commissioner Tommy Melton suggested if the county is going to extend the water line, it should go ahead and take that line to the Peniel Road intersection along Hwy. 9.

Since well get the line halfway there already, Id like to see it go all the way to Peniel Road, Melton said.

Commissioner Rene McDermott said it doesnt sound like the county would have enough money to fund an extension further than the restaurant. County manager Ryan Whitson said he wont know until estimates are in how much running the line to Peniel Road would cost, but the county could take the extra money out of its general fund. Whitson also said he has concerns that the countys fund balance is getting too high following a preliminary report from auditors that Polk could have an estimated $700,000 left over from last fiscal years budget.

The county currently has about $21,000 in its budget for water line extensions. Commissioners asked Schlabach to come to the next meeting with information about how much the developer could contribute for the extension.

The countys Economic Development Commission has also agreed to pay $1,000 towards the costs of the water line extension.

Commissioners expressed interest in this project saying it would be good for the Green Creek community as well as the job creation.

Schlabach said he has been working on the plans for the restaurant for about a year and is currently working out septic requirements with the state. The plan is for the restaurant to have 120 seats divided between a restaurant and a coffee/bakery area, with 100 seats on the left side in the restaurant area and another 20 on the right side in the coffee and bakery area. Plans also include a meeting room. Future plans call for other buildings on the property to be used as shops, Schlabach said.

The grant application, being completed by the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission, is due Nov. 5. Awards are expected to be announced in mid-December.