St. Pauls rezones property with hopes to land industry

By Bob Shiles -

Greg Cummings

ST. PAULS — The St. Pauls Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved the rezoning of about 80 acres along N.C. 20 from Residential Agricultural to Industrial with the hope of landing a major warehouse distribution business.

The land is owned by Michael Walters, a former state senator who represented Robeson County. He and Greg Cummings, Robeson County’s economic development director, updated both the town commissioners and members of the Planning Commission on the status of what is dubbed Project Trilogy.

Cummings said the Fortune 500 company is also looking at sites in several other North Carolina counties, as well as in South Carolina.

According to a site plan presented Thursday to both town board members and the town’s Planning Commission, the project would include a 250,000-square-foot building located about 800 feet off of the highway. It is estimated the project would result in an investment of $16 million, and create 5o jobs with annual average salaries of salaries of $39,500 plus benefits during Phase I.

The project, which has been described by Cummings as expansion and consolidation of four companies, could eventually include a Phase II. Phase II, the boards were told, could include light manufacturing and would result in another 130 to 150 jobs being relocated from other company facilities to St. Pauls.

Cummings said that it is a constant struggle to recruit industry to Robeson County.

“From 1996 until 2003 we lost 9,000 jobs,” Cummings said. “Since then it has been a constant battle, especially with South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, to recruit industries and create new jobs.”

Cumming said about 7,000 of those jobs have been recaptured, cutting the employment rate down to 6.9 percent.

In other business, the commissioners:

— Heard a brief report from J.R. Steigerwald, the town’s administrator, concerning the town’s current ordinance for removing trash and how long recycling containers can remain on the street. Concerns have been raised by some commissioners that residents are not following the letter of the law.

Steigerwald told the commissioners that he will bring to the board at its work session on Aug. 29 a plan for enforcing violations.

— Declared a lot on Worth Street as surplus. The commissioners then voted unanimously to give the lot, which does not conform to today’s minimum size for development, to the First Missionary Baptist Church, which is located adjacent to the foreclosed property.

According to William Stewart, a trustee of the church, the church will use the donated property for parking.

— Declared the lot at 636 N. Alford St. as surplus. According to Steigerwald, the property is large enough to be built on.

The commissioners authorized the property be sold for a minimum bid of $5,000.

Greg Cummings Cummings

By Bob Shiles

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

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