County demo, construction projects a go

Published 6:12 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Beaufort County Courthouse will get a new roof, Gum Neck Road will get a little shorter and the old Beaufort County Home will soon be no longer.

At the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners Nov. 7 meeting, commissioners decided to move forward with the construction and demolition projects.

Commissioners approved accepting the lowest proposal for the Beaufort County Home demolition — $117,600 submitted by Dudley Landscaping in Washington — and to use $84,606 of the county fund balance, as the project was not included in the 2106-17 budget.

The courthouse will get a new roof, in a charcoal gray, as the board approved accepting the bid of $279,756 made by Curtis Construction Company, out of Kinston. The new roof is considered phase I of construction needed on the courthouse and approved during 2016-17 budget proceedings.

Public Works Director Christina Smith also received the go ahead to bring in Greenville-based The East Group to redesign parts of the old First Bank building on West Second Street. The county purchased the property last year, and will repurpose the building as a Financial Services Center and administration building, where residents can pay taxes and water bills, and those interested in attending commissioners’ meetings will have more room to do so. The $21,600 for The East Group design was not included in the 2016-17 budget and does not included a news design for the renovation of the old bank’s drive-thru, which will likely be reworked to create more parking, according to Smith.

Residents at the end of Gum Neck Road near Belhaven, where the road dead-ends at the river, have requested the county’s assistance.

“Residents on each side of the road (have said) there have been people there at the end of the road doing things that people do at the end of a road,” Smith said, to the laughter of commissioners and the audience.

The road extends for approximately 100 feet beyond the intersection with John’s Way and has become a popular place for those looking for a place to hang out, according to neighboring homeowners. It’s also a popular fishing spot, Commissioner Frankie Waters pointed out, though those fishing are technically on private land.

North Carolina Department of Transportation does not have an issue with removing the end of the road, Smith said. The only issue is the last hydrant on the county water system is located on the dead end, and may have to be moved to John’s Way at later date for access reasons.