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LUMBERTON – Robeson County Commissioners on Monday approved a plan to move forward with efforts to provide broadband service throughout the county.

At Monday’s meeting, commissioners approved the Robeson County Digital Inclusion Plan, which includes projects and strategies to bring broadband to Robeson County. The plan will be used to apply for grants as part of the effort, Robeson County Manager Kellie Blue said after the meeting.

“Over the past 18 months, ATMC and Spectrum have received grants that will allow them to build fiber-optic broadband infrastructure in various communities in Robeson County,” the plan says.

The areas served by the companies that will install the network include Pembroke, Maxton, Orrum, Marietta, Proctorville, Elrod and others.

The county will also use responses from the Robeson County Broadband Survey implemented this month to help it meet needs, according to the plan. Other goals were outlined in the plan, such as improving digital literacy skills in communities across the county.

Faline Dial, chair of the Robeson County Council of Commissioners, described it as “very informative.”

“There is a lot of work going on to get broadband across our county and this plan will help us get more funds, I understand,” said Dial.

In other cases, commissioners have heard a request for funding from Gretchen Lutz, president of Robeson County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.

Lutz said the organization plans to build a medicine wheel garden that will contain herbs and be placed at the Robeson County Fairgrounds. The garden will educate members of the public on the medicinal uses of herbs and its history in Native American culture. Lutz said she hopes the garden will be completed by the end of October.

“It will be a permanent installation,” Lutz told commissioners.

A concrete path, which will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, will also be built through the garden to allow for better accessibility, she said.

Lumberton City Council and the mayor donated $ 1,250 for this effort, she said. Commissioners took no action at Monday’s meeting.

However, Blue told the Robesonian after the meeting that the commissioners plan to donate at a later date.

Apryl McCoy called on commissioners to take action and work with city leaders to reduce crime in the Quail Acres area.

Criminal activity is “openly and blatantly” taking place in the neighborhood, where his family members live, McCoy said.

“I come to this advice to say enough is enough,” McCoy said.

The area is within city limits, according to county officials. However, McCoy urged commissioners to work with the city to tackle crime, saying his family members are afraid of being hit by bullets.

Blue told McCoy she would speak with Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins and follow up with her later.

Also on Monday, commissioners approved the closure of the Robeson County Home and Community Care Block grant funds for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Twilla Allen, administrator of the Lumber River Council of Governments Aging Program, told commissioners state and federal funds were $ 1,194,122 and the county match was $ 119,412.

“I come before you to say that we were able to spend all of these funds,” she said.

COVID-19 has posed challenges, Allen said. There were fewer passengers in Southeast Area Transit vehicles, which provide public transportation. There was also a shortage of medical personnel.

“Thanks for your great job,” said Dial.

Also during the meeting, the Commissioners filed a request from Lacy Cummings to dezone an area from the Freeway Commercial District to the Residential Farm District to allow single family families to live on the corner of Deep Branch and Lowe Road. in Lumberton.

The request was filed until the October 18 meeting, when a case representative was able to be present. No one was present during the public hearing on Monday.

A special use permit application from Red Springs-based AMC Auto Sales was also filed on October 18, which seeks to relocate its auto shop operations to an area of ​​NC 211 West in Philadelphus, approximately four miles from its current commercial location. The permit would allow the concessionaire to operate in a residential agricultural district.

Commissioners approved a rezoning request from Stout Land Development to change an area on Sandy Grove Road in Parkton from the Residential Farm District to the Single Family Residential District to allow for the construction of timber houses on the property.

A memorandum of understanding between the Council of Commissioners and the Robeson County Election Council has also been approved, whereby the county will provide personnel administration, leave policies, compensation and benefits and policies. ” regarding disciplinary action against employees “. It will continue to be in effect until amended or terminated.

During the meeting, the commissioners also reappointed James Pankey for another three-year term on the Equalization and Review Board. Pankey’s tenure expired on December 31.


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