LOCKHART — The Town of Lockhart is set to receive a $60,000 grant to fund a study and foster economic development.
Lockhart Mayor Ailene Ashe and members of the Lockhart Town Council met with Myrick Dixon of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) at the Town Hall on Thursday morning to discuss the town’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant.
“I’m really excited about this,” Ashe said. “It’s like a dream come true.”
The grant will fund a feasibility study to identify assets of the town and the surrounding area in order to complete a plan for developing tourism and recreation. The intended outcome is redevelopment of the area and enhancement of economic development opportunities.
Dixon told those present about paperwork and information the town will need to provide before receiving funds, as well as during and after the project’s completion.
Town of Pacolet Mayor Elaine Harris and Catawba Regional Community Development Director Grazier Rhea were also present in Lockhart Thursday morning to advise Ashe and council members.
“You’ll be amazed when you finish this study with how much hope and vision you will have for the town,” Harris told Ashe. “You will have the visual materials, and it will be easier to get other grants because you will have those materials to back you up.”
Since Pacolet’s grant-funded feasibility study was completed, the town has seen revitalization along the Pacolet River, including a lighted river walk and the Pacolet River Paddling Trail — complete with canoe and kayak take-outs and put-ins — which is slated to open this fall. The trail is being funded with a grant of almost $1 million, which Harris said the feasibility study helped acquire.
“We can help make Lockhart a booming area,” Dixon smiled.
The next step in the grant process for the Town of Lockhart will be to hire a consultant to complete the study.