County receives $25,000 Village Renaissance Grant

Union County will use a state grant to study the needs of the Ottaray Mill Village and develop a plan for its revitalization.

In a letter to Supervisor Tommy Sinclair, Gov. Nikki Haley announced that “Union County will receive a $25,000 Village Renaissance Grant from the Community Development Block Grant program. Funds will be used to develop a revitalization plan for the Ottaray Mill Village.”

Sinclair thanked Haley for the award and said it is the next step in a process that began earlier this year when Union County Council member Kacie Petrie, two other county officials, and three Ottaray residents surveyed the community about its needs.

“We turned the application in 90 days ago and we are happy to hear from Gov. Haley about this grant,” Sinclair said. “This is a planning grant which we will use to fund a study of what needs to be done in Ottaray.”

Petrie, who represents Ottaray on council, said she and Robbie Moody of the Catawba Regional Council of Governments met with Ottaray residents March 1 to inform them of the county’s plans to survey them as part of its efforts to revitalize the community. Later in the year, Petrie, Building Official Brad Jolly, Airport/Stadium Director Ronnie Wade and Ottaray residents Lou Ellen Spears, Beverly Morris and Cindy Richardson went through the community surveying residents. The surveys were subsequently collected and Petrie said Thursday the comments and suggestions will be used in developing the revitalization plan.

The needs voiced by residents in the survey include the repair of existing sidewalks and construction of new ones; fixing water drainage problems; neighborhood safety issues such as lighting and guardrails; and infrastructure improvements.

Petrie said the plan will be developed over the course of 2012 and may not be ready until 2013.

“It will take six to 12 months to develop a plan and the plan could include some infrastructure improvements and improvements to the physical appearance of the community,” Petrie said. “This is an opportunity to meet the long-standing needs of the people of Ottaray.”

Petrie said that after the plan is developed, the county will use it to apply for a Village Renaissance Grant of at least $500,000 to address the needs outlined in the plan.

By Charles Warner, Staff Reporter with The Union Daily Times