by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

Forsyth commissioners pledge $3 million in economic incentives to Novant

The Forsyth County Commission unanimously approved a $3 million economic incentives package for Novant Health to expand its Kernersville Medical Park facility during the board’s regular meeting on Monday. The funds will go toward infrastructure costs related to the expansion project, which will invest $105 million in new construction and create 95 full-time jobs in the process. Novant Health will pay back the economic incentive package over a 17-year period. The incentive amount paid out will not exceed 50 percent of the property taxes generated by the new construction on an annual basis under the terms of the agreement between Novant Health, which operates Forsyth Medical Center, and the county. According to the adopted resolution, the expansion of Kernersville Medical Park will stimulate the local economy, promote business, create new jobs and increase the county’s tax base.

In other business, the commissioners postponed voting on a measure to participate in the National Association of Counties’ prescription-drug discount-card program. — KTB

Agreement unlocks stimulus funds for highspeed rail project

Work is expected to begin soon on a railway modernization project that connects Raleigh to Charlotte,with Greensboro a central transit point. A recent agreement between the state of North Carolina, Norfolk Southern Railway Co., Amtrak and the NC Railroad Co. and approval from the Federal Railroad Administration triggers the release of $461 million in federal stimulus funds to pay for upgrades to the tracks, including the addition of double tracks between Greensboro and Charlotte and a dozen new bridges to eliminate at-grade railroad crossings.

Gov. Beverly Perdue said the construction project will create more than 4,000 short-term jobs and boost economic activity across the state in the long run.

“It is great news that North Carolina and the USDOT are ready to begin work on these critical high-speed rail projects that will create jobs, improve rail travel for North Carolinians and make our state an even better place to live and do business,” US Sen. Kay Hagan said in a prepared statement. — JG

Cleanup planned for new segment of Downtown Greenway

Action Greensboro hosts a groundbreaking celebration for Phase 1A of the Downtown Greenway on Saturday at 11 a.m. The event takes place at the intersection of Spring Garden and Edgeworth streets. Volunteers are sought to pick up litter in the area as part of the Great American Clean Up. — JG