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New River Advocates To Meet Again Monday, ‘Major New Information’ Uncovered on Boone Intake

Cartoon by Marie Nelson
Cartoon by Marie Nelson

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 18, 2014. New River Advocates, a incorporated nonprofit that opposes the Town of Boone’s water intake project along the South Fork of the New River near Todd, will hold another community meeting to update citizens on what it describes as a “Boone water grab.”

The meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 18, at the Riverside Restaurant in Todd.

“New River Advocates has uncovered major new information on how Town of Boone intends to continue with plans to build a large raw water intake on the New River at the Watauga-Ashe county line near Todd. Unless stopped soon, this project will irreversibly alter the future development plans of Ashe County, which means a major economic setback for the community,” a New River Advocates release states.

Donald Nelson of New River Advocates added in the release that state and local officials are being made aware of these developments for the first time.

“The new information shows that several levels of government have been involved in the faulty planning and rubber-stamp approvals for this project. Watauga Commissioners have run-a-muk and “Somethin’ Smells Fishy,” the release reads.

In 2008, town voters approved a $25-million bond referendum for a new intake system, garnering 73 percent support for the project. And two years later, the Boone Town Council accepted a $20.5-million loan from the USDA to finance the project. Since then, the town has already spent at least $2 million on the project for property, consulting and engineering fees – and if the project were to be completed, that completion date is still years away.

Read an article about a prior citizens meeting in Todd and also a preview of the nonprofit speaking before the Ashe County Board of Commissioners in an attempt to reverse the water classification needed for the intake project to move forward.

For more information about New River Advocates, click here.

For more stories on the Boone water intake project, click here.