Yes, it’s a win-win situation

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners’ decision to proceed with a plan to allow the Mid-East Commission to build a new headquarters building on the former Beaufort County Home site is a win-win situation.

First, the county wins by keeping the Mid-East Commission offices in Beaufort County and by the Mid-East Commission paying for the demolition of the former Beaufort County Home.

Second, the Mid-East Commission wins by acquiring a site that offers plenty of room for it to build its new headquarters, expected to be from 15,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet.

The unanimous decision to proceed with the plan came during the board’s meeting Monday. Timmy Baynes, executive director of the Mid-East Commission, and Doug Mercer, chairman of the Mid-East Commission’s board of directors, made an excellent case for the need for a new facility. They also explained the land would be owned not by the commission but by the Mid-East Development Corp., the commission’s development entity.

The Mid-East Commission, which has had its headquarters in Washington for more than 40 years, needs a new facility to house its offices, the programs and services it provides to the counties and local governments it serves and the spaces it leases to area nonprofit groups such as Literacy Volunteers of Beaufort County.

The site in question is adjacent to the Beaufort County Health Department and Beaufort County Emergency Services. The estimated cost of the project is $3.5 million, which commission officials believe is a high estimate.

Baynes said the commission hopes to start construction of its new headquarters toward the end of this year.

Baynes also said the commission wants to remain in Washington despite a movement to relocate its headquarters to a more central location in the counties it serves, which are Beaufort, Pitt, Martin, Bertie and Hertford counties.

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.

The agreement between the county and Mid-East Commission is a great example of a public-private partnership that pays dividends to each member of that partnership.