Polk to apply for grant to extend water line to new creamery

Published 5:37 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2017

COLUMBUS – Polk County commissioners agreed last week to apply for a grant to help extend a water line to Looking Glass Creamery LLC, which is expanding its business to Polk County to support its operations in Buncombe County.

Commissioners met June 19 and agreed to apply for a grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Rural Development Fund. The Industrial Development Fund (IDF) assistance from the department of commerce will pay up to 75 percent of the project.

The 25 percent match will be paid for through the county and Looking Glass Creamery per the county’s water line extension policy, which says the county will pay 60 percent of the total and the property owner pays 40 percent. The total project is estimated at $227,500. If the grant is approved, Polk County will pay $34,125 and Looking Glass Creamery will pay $22,750.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Looking Glass Creamery is constructing a facility on Hwy. 9 on property known as the Harmon Dairy Farm. The business is acquiring the existing dairy farm to better manage its milk supply and is constructing a new creamery building with aging caves to produce cheese and other dairy products. Retail sales will continue at Looking Glass Creamery, located at 57 Noble Road, Fairview. Retail sales at the Polk County location will be added in a later phase.

The expansion to Polk County is expected to create eight new production jobs with further job growth expected with future operations expansions.

The county will apply for an estimated $170,625 grant from the IDF funds.

The money from the county will come from an appropriation of the county’s economic and tourism development commission funds and economic development reserves.

The project will include the installation of approximately 5,010 linear feet of 8-inch C-900 PVC water main to serve the planned expansion. The water line will extend from an existing 12-inch water line on Chesnee Road South along N.C. Hwy 9. The project will also include two fire hydrants, valves and fittings, a road under bore, five driveway repairs, engineering design, construction supervision, contingency funds and grant administration.

Commissioners approved a resolution last week to apply for the grant.

During the county’s discussion following a public hearing, interim county economic development director Jim Edwards said Polk has been looked on favorably on the initial pass and the state will then look at the business, then the engineering report prior to approval. Edwards said it will likely be a couple of weeks before the county knows whether or not it was approved for the grant.

County manager Marche Pittman said the county will benefit in additional tax revenue from the new business locating in Polk County.