Columbus Co. leaders request overpass be named in honor of state trooper

Overpass to be named in honor of fallen Trooper

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - County leaders put plans in motion to honor a fallen hero Monday night.

Columbus County commissioners asked the North Carolina Department of Transportation to name an overpass in honor of Trooper Kevin Conner, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in October.

Commissioners are asking DOT to name the US 701 overpass in honor of Conner. They originally asked to name the US 74 and Highway 242 overpass, but decided the 701 overpass is a higher honor.

Commissioner Ricky Bullard asked that a bronze plaque be placed in memory of all fallen law enforcement officers in the county in the courthouse. The commissioners unanimously approved that request.

There was also a public hearing at the meeting Monday to talk about a company expected to bring about 15 jobs to the area. No residents, however, gave their opinions on a proposed grant to help Green Energy Sustainable Solutions (GESS) get off the ground. It’s a biogas facility with hopes to build near Clarendon.

The company, based out of Raleigh, would take the methane out of pig manure and mix it with local crops to turn it into renewable, natural gas. The gas would then be sold to Duke Energy and other power companies.

County commissioners gave the ok to pay into an economic development incentive grant to help launch the company. The county would invest a little over $700,000 over five years. The county wouldn’t pay into the grant until the company pays property taxes each year.

According to county leaders, the company would invest about $26,030,000 in the county over three years.

Commissioners said the grant will total $730,183 payable over a five-year period using money in the county’s general fund.

“It’s a win for Columbus County. It’s a win for GESS because we’re helping them get on their feet at the start-up phase, but it’s also a win for our citizens from an environmental perspective," Economic Development Director Gary Lanier said.

The company hopes to get up and running by 2020.

Monday night was also Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Amon McKenzie’s last meeting. He has served on the board for 20 years, but lost in the primary elections to newcomer Jerome McMillian. The other commissioners presented McKenzie with a plaque for his time served.

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