Prison farm upgrade would cost millions

Jan. 19, 2013 @ 06:36 PM

It could cost as much as $16 million to provide water and sewer service to the County Prison Farm for a business park, according to a new report.
The 800-acre property has no water and sewer lines a business could use. After starting down a path toward spending $100,000 to develop a business plan for the property late last year when one prospect backed out of a deal, commissioners suddenly reversed course.
Gibsonville, Burlington and Greensboro could offer some or all of the water and sewer service, according to the report.
“The final cost would depend on the type of industry that would want to locate on the site,” Guilford County Planner Betty Garrett told the Board of Commissioners during a recent workshop.
If Gibsonville supplied the water and sewer, it could cost from $2.8 to $3.5 million. Service from Burlington could cost as much as $16.3 million. Cost also would vary based on the size of service lines, Garrett said. A Burlington water main extension could be as long as five miles.
“Burlington would have challenges doing this, but they have capacity,” Garrett said.
Greensboro could extend sewer service to the area as part of the Rock Creek business park project. There are limits, however.
“Greensboro and Burlington do not want a project that would negatively affect their customers,” Garrett said.
Sheriff BJ Barnes wants to keep the farm running. Some of the farm products have become a tradition through the years. Barnes agrees with open space advocates that developing the property for an industrial park “flies in the face of things for this part of the county” for open space and agricultural protection.  
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County Prison Farm
• Location: 7315 Howerton Road, Gibsonville.
• Area: 806 acres
• Built: 1935. The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has operated the farm since 1998.
• Inmates: More than 100, minimum custody.
• Activities: Cattle and egg production, greenhouses and feed crops. Occupational training. Inmates also provide grounds maintenance at the county schools, parks and other properties.