On Tuesday, January 8th, local officials from across the region participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new offices of the Lumber River Council of Governments (LRCOG). The LRCOG is a regional planning and service agency working under the direction of local governments in Bladen, Hoke, Richmond, Robeson and Scotland Counties. The 13,800 square foot office will be located in COMtech Park near Pembroke in Robeson County.
Pictured above are current and former members of the LRCOG Board of Directors, including
Richmond County Commissioner J.C. Watkins; Hamlet Councilman Bill Bayless; Robeson County Commissioner and LRCOG Chairman Raymond Cummings; Dobbins Heights Councilwoman Gracie Jackson; Fairmont Councilman Charles Townsend; Red Springs Councilwoman Linda Mack; Pembroke Mayor Milton Hunt; Scotland County Commissioner John Alford; Gibson Councilman Ronnie Hudson; former Hamlet Councilman Bert Unger; Laurinburg Councilman Thomas W. Parker, III; St. Pauls Mayor Gordon Westbrook; Lumberton Councilman Leon Maynor; Gibson Councilman Charles (Freddie) Webb; former McDonald Mayor Irene Britt; McDonald Councilman Bobby Britt; Dublin Councilman David Kirby; Bladen County Commissioner Billy Ray Pait; White Lake Councilman Tim Blount; Hoke County Commissioner Chairman James Leach and Tar Heel Councilwoman Paulette Tanner.
“We are gathered this morning to celebrate a great event in the history of the Lumber River Council of Governments and its member governments,” stated Robeson County Commissioner and Chairman of the LRCOG Board of Directors Raymond Cummings. “This event is the beginning of the construction of a new home for the COG and one that is owned by the membership. For over 35 years, the COG has leased its office space. Now, we are moving towards ownership.”
Commissioner Cummimgs stated that the discussion about the moves took place in 2002 when the Board began to consider renewing its lease agreement of its current office in Lumberton that is located on Fayetteville Road there.
Roughly four years later in 2006, the North Carolina General Assembly amended the statutes, allowing COGs to own their own offices and in February 2007, the firm of Anderson Engineering of Lumberton was selected to build this new office and fulfill the architectural and engineering needs.
In March of that year, the Board selected the site at COMtech and purchased three acres there.
In June, local banks were considered for financing and First South Bank was selected.
“Finally, in November, Certified Construction Services was selected as the building contractor, and as you can see, work commence in December,” state Mr. Cummings. “Our contract calls for construction to be completed in August with occupancy in September.”
The LRCOG’s major programs include older adults, workforce development, and local planning services.
Mr. James Perry serves as LRCOGs executive director.
Citizen editor Mark S. Moses contributed to this release.