Commissioners decide how to use $500,000 state grant

At the recent retreat of the Stanly County Board of Commissioners, the board decided to appropriate $500,000 in state grant funds for the proposed livestock arena.

County Manager Andy Lucas presented options to the board for funds from the state’s General Assembly through the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF). The funds must be spent on capital infrastructure, and can not go to operations or other expense categories.

Suggestions made to commissioners included offsetting the cost of the proposed livestock arena, the trades facility or water line at Stanly Community College or new water lines in the community. Other suggestions included an additional solid waste site, an exterior elevator for the main library, facility improvements for Stanly County Schools, improved broadband infrastructure or preparation and utilities for a hangar at the airport.

Lucas said he had to have a scope of work in order to receive the funds.

Commissioner Bill Lawhon suggested the livestock arena, while Chairman Tommy Jordan said either the arena or the new trades facility at the college.

Lucas noted in a previous commissioner work session that the board agreed to continue moving forward with the livestock arena.

Commissioner Mike Barbee asked about the overall cost of the project. Lucas said it would be between $4.2 million and $4.4 million.

When asked by Barbee about the seating capacity for the arena, Lucas said roughly 350 people could comfortably sit in the arena, while the smaller enclosed area would seat about 150.

Barbee asked about Union County’s livestock arena, but Lucas said if the county were to try to duplicate that the current plans would have to be redone.

“We would have to scrap the whole thing and start over,” Lucas said, adding members of the livestock arena committee said they were good with the current dimensions of the arena.

A motion to use the grant money for the livestock arena passed unanimously.