Pembroke awarded $5.2 million Federal BUILD Grant

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PEMBROKE, NC (WBTW) – A $5.2 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant has been awarded to the Town of Pembroke.

The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant is to be used for much-needed infrastructure improvements, primarily in the downtown district of the Town.

Town and North Carolina Department of Transportation funding will join the BUILD grant award for a total estimated project cost of $6.69 million.

The bulk of the funding will be used for new multi-modal transportation improvements and increased inter-connectivity infrastructure in downtown Pembroke with the goal of creating a safer, more pedestrian-friendly area for residents and visitors.

The Town, along with local leaders and officials, have been seeking BUILD funding for the long-awaited improvement project for the last 5 years. The project was first initiated in 2015 thanks to the support of North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore – whose support enabled the Town to begin an initial feasibility study for the downtown corridor.

“The folks in Pembroke have been pursuing this grant for five years because of the critical need to increase the town’s transportation infrastructure to integrate with and complement improvements serving the University of North Carolina at Pembroke campus,” Congressman Dan Bishop said. “I made it a top priority throughout my first year in Congress and worked closely with community and Lumbee Tribal leaders to understand and advocate effectively for it. The award demonstrates the commitment of the Trump Administration and U.S. DOT to helping rural communities thrive.”

Officials and leaders in the Town of Pembroke say this funding could not come at a better time—on the heels of three years of explosive enrollment growth at the university spurring the region’s economy into action.

Over the last three years, the university’s enrollment has swelled from 6,252 in the fall of 2017 to a record high of 8,262 in the fall of 2020. The more than 32% growth has been accompanied by new construction and development surrounding the university and in the Town.

Two developments are nearing completion in the coming months—the mixed-use A.S. Thomas Center downtown and residential community the Villages at Hunter’s Run. A third project on Prospect Road recently broke ground on an additional 192 residential units.

In addition, a variety of retailers and businesses have begun to take note and see Pembroke as a good option for expansion.

Pembroke’s Mayor says BUILD funding is a critical part of the Town’s ability to match this growth in the community with key safety, infrastructure and aesthetic improvements.

“This 2020 BUILD grant award will ensure that we have the funding for important infrastructure improvements for our growing community while also greatly improving the safety of motorists and pedestrians in our Town,” said Charles Gregory Cummings, Mayor of the Town of Pembroke. “I would like to thank Senator Richard Burr, Senator Thom Tillis and Congressman Dan Bishop for their long-term support of this project and their leadership in Congress. I would also like to thank the U.S. Department of Transportation for choosing the Town of Pembroke as one of the recipients of this grant this year.”

The pivotal project is anticipated to begin in December 2020 and will take approximately two and a half years to complete in entirety.

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