HOLLY SPRINGS — The Golden LEAF Foundation recently gave a $1.25 million grant to the town to help pay for the nearly $21 million in land and infrastructure improvements local leaders promised to a pharmaceutical maker.
Over the past few months, Holly Springs leaders have been asking nonprofit groups for money to finance the estimated $8 million in road and sewer projects they told Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics they would complete before the company opens its flu vaccine plant in town.
They also are searching for money to buy a fire engine, costing about $850,000, that Novartis told them to get.
Town leaders are asking for help paying for their promises because they do not want to defer other projects to keep their word to Novartis.
Town Manager Carl Dean initially asked Golden LEAF for about $5.5 million.
The Rocky Mount nonprofit, created to aid the economic transition from tobacco, gave the town far less in part because Holly Springs has a few years to come up with all the money it needs, said Golden LEAF President Valeria Lee.
"We thought that with that amount of money, they could go forward with the project and meet the obligations they made to the company," she said.