Carroll water projects making progress

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Supplying water for a new truck stop at Exit 1 in Lambsburg will proceed along two tracks as the Carroll Public Service Authority continues infrastructure work there.

The Carroll officials will continue to work on a smaller water tank to serve the Love's Country Store and Travel Stop facility planned for the Interstate 77 exit just north of the North Carolina line, PSA members discussed at Monday's meeting.

At the same time, the county will work with Mount Airy, N.C., to supply water to the exit over the long term, authority Chairman Sam Dickson confirmed after the discussion.

He described negotiations with Mount Airy as just starting. "We do know they want to sell water," Dickson said.

Gary Larrowe, in his first PSA meeting in his dual role as executive director and county administrator, said he's spoken with Love's officials and they have confirmed that development of the Carroll location has been added to the company's store construction schedule.

This came from a phone conversation Larrowe said he had Saturday with a Love's engineer.

The construction bid closing will fall on June 16, he said. "That is on their project list. He said there's no backing up now."

Further discussion yielded the idea that Love's would need a 20,000 gallon water supply, Larrowe said. County officials could tap water resources to the south — which he referred to as the larger project — as opposed to filling a smaller water tank at the Interstate 77 exit with wells.

"The larger project, if funded, could end up providing a connection from Mount Airy water, which would be sustainable, to the Love's project and to that community," he said. "And I think that's probably where we need to be."

That option could fill a 100,000-gallon tank, located farther up Fancy Gap Mountain to supply that community. Larrowe suggested continuing with the small project as planned, while trying to get the larger project in place at the same time.

Love's officials have indicated to Larrowe that they could live with a 5,000-gallon tank for six or seven months, with the promise of the larger tank in the works. "They do not want to drag this on for six or seven years..."

Rural Development officials will help on the work for the larger tank. Larrowe asked the authority members for authorization to move forward on that project.

There also may need to be a kind of "sidebar agreement" that promises Love's that Carroll will install the extra 15,000 gallons of storage there that the company wants to see in the future, Larrowe said.

He knows the state requires a tank with at least a 5,000 gallon supply, which would work out to a half day. Love's would like to see enough for a two-day supply.

"I understand their comfort level, and of course for any future expansion we would need a larger one anyway," he said.

Love's expects to open in Lambsburg by January, Larrowe said.

Authority member Manus McMillian made a motion to proceed with working on the larger version of the project. All authority members voted yes.

Dickson said after the meeting he's in favor of the larger tank to serve that area, because it seems like once you get one business to move into an area, others will follow.

In other Exit 1 action, the authority members learned from engineer Kevin Heath that Rural Development granted the building contract to Clark Brothers Construction.