Water leak, new business top year in Tarboro


Staff Writer

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Tarboro experienced a water system emergency, landed a new cold storage facility and saw a pair of firsts during 2017.

The town received a scare in December when a major water leak that lasted for a few days caused the closure of five Edgecombe County schools and the loss of thousands of gallons of water.

Town staff said the leak caused pressure to drop in the town’s water system, which was found to originate from an unmetered, private fire line behind an industry in town. The leak was in a wooded area and flowing directly to the Tar River. During the leak, the town issued a boil water advisory, which shortly thereafter expired after the leak was found.

The Tarboro Town Council remained intact going in 2018. During the November municipal election, Tarboro Mayor Joe Pitt retained his post after defeating challenger Al Braxton, a former Tarboro police officer. In addition, incumbent council members Sabrina Bynum and Othar Woodard were victorious in their respective races. 

Bynum regained her seat on Ward 7 as she prevailed over challengers Roy Gray and Quincy Robinson. Bynum joined the council in February after being selected to fill the vacant seat formerly held by the late Taro Knight, who died of cancer last year.

Woodard is serving his second term on the council after he ousted opponent Carl Benson for the seat representing Ward 1.

During the summer, the town received good economic news when a more than $20 million state-of-the-art commercial cold storage facility announced plans to create more than 100 jobs. 

Lionchase Holdings Inc., a privately held asset management firm, has begun site preparation to build a 200,000-square-foot facility at the Tarboro Commerce Center, a manufacturing and distribution park located at exit 484 off U.S. 64 in Tarboro. The Carolinas Gateway Partnership, town of Tarboro and Lionchase Holdings all were part of the agreement for the planned development. 

The anticipated start of operations is slated for late fall or winter 2018, company officials said.

Ken Brown, managing partner of Lionchase Holidings, said the jobs will pay a good wage.

“The beauty of this development is that it will quickly attract quality industries to the area while improving the economic viability for local residents,” Brown said. “We fully intend to offer at least 25 percent of the newly created full-time jobs to inviduals who currently qualify as low or moderate income.”

The town also went away from tradition as alcohol was sold for the first time at the longtime popular Happening on the Common event. The town also for the first time will have a New Year’s Eve event in downtown Tarboro.