ELIZABETHTOWN — “I want to see people here kicking tires again.”
That was the message from Bladen County Economic Development Director Chuck Heustess on Monday as he spoke to the Board of Commissioners during a presentation proposing a shell building project at the Elizabethtown Industrial Park.
“We’ve only been referred for two projects this year, and usually that number would be 12 or more,” Heustess told the board. “But we just don’t have any empty buildings available.”
Heustess outlined a plan to construct a 26,490-square-foot industrial spec building that “would be more complete than some of the shell buildings we’ve visited in the region,” and would include 2,490 square feet of office space. He added that the plan would be to have most things in place so “a company could be up and running with a couple of months.”
Heustess said the building would have 5-inch thick concrete flooring “so you’ll be able to put almost anything on it” as well as high ceilings.
Estimated cost for the project, which would be shared between the county and Bladen’s Bloomin’, is $1.2 million.
“This is a very exciting project,” Heutess said, “and we may be back soon to get started on another building.”
The expected completion date is early 2019, but Heustess said interested tenants would be able to view the building earlier.
A public hearing was scheduled for Monday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the project.
In other business Monday, the board:
— Approved a capital outlay request from Bladen County Schools to use $33,073.96 in sales tax allocation for 12 projects, a majority of which are fencing needs at several schools. It also includes the removal and replacement of a 5-ton heat pump at the Central Office.
— Held a public hearing on the proposed $56,923,870 fiscal year 2018-19 county budget. Nobody spoke.
— Approved a temporary agreement between the Bladen County Health Department and Bladen Healthcare for family nurse practitioner services.
— Approved a one-year agreement between the Health Department and Robeson County Health Department for minority diabetes screening.
— Heard an overview about a one-year agreement between the county’s Department of Social Services and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services concerning all services except Medicaid. No action was taken and additional discussion will be heard during the Monday, June 18, meeting.
— Declined a $4,000 bid on a county-owned parcel at 220 Sand Pit Road. The .46-acre property was foreclosed on earlier this year at a cost of $6,600 and has been valued at $7,300.
— Approved an amended contract with N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services/Division of Soil & Water Conservation with regard to stream debris removal for $662,000.
The next meeting of the county commissioners will be Monday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.