Council endorses new facility for Mid-East CommissionPublished 5:14pm Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The Mid-East Commission’s proposal to build its new headquarters adjacent to the Beaufort County Health Department was endorsed by the Washington City Council during its meeting Monday.
The council voted 5-0 to support the project, which will not require any funds from the city. Existing membership dues from several local governments would be used to pay off the project’s debt. The Mid-East Commission, a regional planning organization that works with local governments in Beaufort, Pitt, Martin, Hertford and Bertie counties, is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on long-term financing for the proposed project.
“Unless they can get an informal commitment from their largest member governments, they don’t feel like they can move forward with the project,” City Manager Brian Alligood said.
The estimated cost of the project is $3 million.
The commission’s current headquarters facility, which it rents, is in Washington. The commission wants a new headquarters because it is outgrowing its existing facility. The commission and Beaufort County Board of Commissioners have talked about the county
In 2014, the county decided to proceed with a plan to allow the Mid-East Commission to build its new headquarters on the former Beaufort County Home site.
Under the plan, the land would be owned not by the commission but by the Mid-East Development Corp., the commission’s development entity.
Councilman Doug Mercer, chairman of the Mid-East Commission, said the commission has been renting space in the city since 1969. Currently, it pays about $145,000 a year in rent, he noted.
“We’ve looked at building a new building. The county has agree to donate the old nursing home site to us if we can secure the financing,” Mercer said. “We’ve run into a small snag there in that the State Historic Preservation Office has some interest as to whether that should be a historic property or not. We’re working through that.”
The mission of the Mid-East Commission is to enhance the ability of local governments to successfully improve the quality of life for area citizens. The commission, in an effort to facilitate positive local and regional change, provides leadership in technical assistance, planning, program management and development and public-private partnerships.