NCLM Southern City, Volume 73, Issue 4 2023

ARP Case Study ARP Funds Allow Town of Newton Grove to Fix Outdated Water/Sewer System STEPHANIE HUGHES Communications & Multimedia Strategist (ARP) NEWTON GROVE WAS STRUGGLING WITH AN OUTDATED WATER AND SEWER SYSTEM AND DEPLETED TOWN FUNDS WHEN THE TOWN RECEIVED A ONCE-INA-GENERATION OPPORTUNITY THROUGH THE DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS FROM THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN. Newton Grove is a town of approximately 585 residents in Sampson County, NC. It is the type of small North Carolina town where everyone knows everyone else’s name. When you drive through, you will likely notice the Newton Grove Water Tower that stands near the center of town and has become a sort of landmark within the community. Yet, while the water tower has become a symbol of the town, beneath the surface, Newton Grove was dealing with an outdated water and sewer system and depleted funds with which to make the necessary upgrades. So when it was announced that Newton Grove would receive approximately $180,000 in ARP funds, town officials knew exactly where to invest it. The town put the funds into reconstructing the town’s two wells and repairing some of the lift stations, both of which are essential for a functioning water and sewer system. Much of the system’s infrastructure is over 40 years old and has needed repairs to bring it up to date. Newton Grove recognizes that upgrading water systems is not the flashiest project, but it is one that is vitally important to residents’ daily lives and one that requires an enormous amount of time and money. “A lot of people do not understand what it takes to run a waste treatment plant or to run a clean, clear drinking water system. I hope that our municipality and other communities understand that it takes so much,” Newton Grove Town Clerk and Zoning & Planning Administrator Amanda Bradshaw said. These funds could not have come at a more needed time. Before the ARP funds’ distribution, the town was unsure how they would finance the necessary repairs. Bradshaw shared how it felt that the town was holding its breath, unsure of how they would be able to accomplish what was needed. “We’re on the UAL list and we had applied for a few grants, but unfortunately, we were not chosen for those grants, so it was kind of a scary time when I came in and took over financially,” Bradshaw said. “We were at a place where we really did not know what we were going to do. So that ARP money saved us.” I cannot tell you how critical [the ARP funds] have been. It has been a phenomenal thing to have direct revenue sharing like this […] and it is allowing towns to see investment into their infrastructure so they can attract more growth. » Richard Marvin, NCLM ARP Field Representative SOUTHERN CITY Quarter 4 2023 30