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Gaston County CARE Plan to Provide Aid, Boost Economy

GASTONIA, N.C. – In the midst of wave after wave of bad news tied to the coronavirus, Gaston County leaders are stepping forward with a plan to help those affected the most – and to provide a shot in the arm for the local economy.

It’s called the CARE (Capital And Relief Expansion) Plan, and is targeted to provide nearly $50 million in a combination of spending on projects and direct relief to nonprofit organizations aiding residents.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Tracy Philbeck championed the plan as a way of having county government make a significant contribution to those suffering in the crisis.

“This is about helping people, and keeping our economy going,” Philbeck said. “We’re calling on our municipal partners around the county and our major employers to join us in supporting our residents.”

The CARE Plan features four prongs.

First, it moves forward three major projects already in the county budget to infuse more than $6.7 million into the economy now. One of those projects is a new Child Advocacy Center being built on land donated by City Church in Gastonia (formerly Bethlehem Church). The $2 million facility will allow staff to better serve the more than 300 children who come to them each year that are the victims of abuse.

The plan also adds $100,000 from the County’s general fund to its Family Advisory Board. That doubles the amount of money the FAB has available to provide to nonprofits who apply to the board for funding.

Third, it puts a $28.25 million facility for Gaston County Emergency Management and Telecommunications along with an $11.25 million fleet management facility forward as projects the County will seek bond approval for from its residents. If approved, those projects would allow the county to continue to infuse money into the economy to keep people working.

Finally, Gaston County’s Department of Health and Human Services is providing $1 million to allow for donations to organizations helping residents in the following seven areas:

  1. Food
  2. Rental/Housing Assistance
  3. Vehicle Payment and Repair
  4. Daycare Supplements
  5. Homebound Clients
  6. Prescription Assistance for individuals not on Medicaid or Medicare
  7. Community Assistance for Foster Children ages 18-21

The $1 million coming through DHHS will use a combination of federal and county dollars.

County Manager Dr. Kim Eagle said the plan highlights the County government’s dedication to doing all it can to help mitigate the economic hardship being caused by COVID-19.

“These projects represent a strategic approach to addressing the economic circumstances that are impacting folks in our community as a result of the virus,” Eagle said.