During a joint Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce and the town of Littleton Business After Hours event, Littleton received a check from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP) for $266,000 to renovate the town’s Police Department.
“This day has been a long time coming,” Pitchford said. “Each and every one of you taxpayers out there should give yourselves a big hand and a thank you.”
Pitchford explained that when she was appointed Police Commissioner about four years ago, she could not believe the police officers were working in such deplorable conditions.
“The building is full of black mold, it is not handicap accessible, the roof is leaking, the back door cannot be used, the ceiling tiles are gone, the sheet rock and paneling have fallen off the walls and there is no privacy for interviews or bookings,” she said. “It is basically a hole in the wall. It is a project that is at least 25 years past due. I knew immediately that something had to be done and I had no idea how to do it.”
Determined, Pitchford said she contacted the U.S.D.A. and inquired. And it has been a long but rewarding experience, she said.
The loan amount is $166,00, at 3.875 percent interest. A grant of $100,000 is part of the packet, and will not have to be repaid, as long as the money is used for the police department renovation.
“When I was informed that Congressman Butterfield was going to be here today, I thought could it get any better than this? Than you all showed up,” she said of the crowd, some of who included members of the community, police officers, businesses members, commissioners and state representatives.
When Butterfield spoke, he said that black mold is unacceptable.
“If the town commissioners had the resources, they would have fixed this problem a long time ago, but they have not had the resources without going up significantly on property taxes, and that they are not to do,” he said. “They have had to find creative ways to get the money to refurbish, and they reached out to SERCAP. We are here today to present the result of their work. It is my distinct pleasure to sign a check and to present it to the town.”
Pitchford thanked many of the people who helped make the project possible and the other law enforcement agencies who have helped Littleton’s department, including Roanoke Rapids and the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a big morale boost to our police officers, who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect us,” Pitchford said. “They are our first line of defense in our community. This moment is much bigger than me, this is a sign we are moving forward. This is our town, our police department — let’s bet proud of it. Working together works.”