County close to occupying new admin building, but COVID-19 taking priority

By: Tomeka Sinclair - Staff writer
Edward Powers, owner and operator of Xtreme Kleaning Services LLC, washes the windows of the county’s new administration building on North Chestnut Street on Wednesday. Powers said the Whiteville-based cleaning service began cleaning the interior of the building three weeks ago and hopes to complete it by the end of the week.
Renovation of the Robeson County administrative building is on track to be complete in the next two weeks, according to County Manager Kellie Blue. Completion of the building, located at 500 N. Chestnut St. in Lumberton, has been set back more than a year.
Blue

LUMBERTON — The county manager says she can see the renovation of the new Robeson County administrative building in downtown Lumberton being complete in the coming weeks, but her mind is currently on the threat of COVID-19.

“We’re focused on COVID-19 right now,” Kellie Blue said. “We need to get through this first.”

All areas of the county has banned together over the past two weeks to offset the impact of the new coronavirus, she said.

“The entire county is working together to fight against this,” Blue said.

The old BB&T building, located at 500 N. Chestnut St., was given to the county by the Hector MacLean family, and the county paid $615,000 for the parking lot.

Originally projections for the four-story building had the renovation project being finished in January 2019. Then the deadline was moved to October 2019 because of weather and the discovery of asbestos and then to the end of January of 2020.

Once completed, the 64,655-square-foot building will house six county departments. The first floor will include the Board of Commissioners’ new meeting chambers, Veterans Services and the Register of Deeds. The Tax Office will occupy the second floor. The third floor will house Human Resources and Computer Operations. The county attorney, county manager, assistant county managers and Finance Department will be on the fourth floor.

The move to the BB&T building will free up space in the county courthouse which the administrative building sits to rear of. The current county administration building on Elm Street will be abandoned.

Blue said that she could see the office being move-in ready in about two weeks but described it as being “inhumane” to move offices during the threat of the new coronavirus.

“We’re still on schedule and everything is on track but we cannot think about that right now,” Blue said. “We have to deal with this.”

The new coronavirus is not the only problem area county leaders are keeping an eye on.

The county is good standing financially, and there is money in the reserves, Blue said. But she does see a major drop in sales tax revenue coming.

“We’re fine overall, but I can foresee our whole state seeing a drop in sales tax in the future,” Blue said. “With people losing their jobs that will be a normal occurrence.

“We’re OK but that could change.”

Edward Powers, owner and operator of Xtreme Kleaning Services LLC, washes the windows of the county’s new administration building on North Chestnut Street on Wednesday. Powers said the Whiteville-based cleaning service began cleaning the interior of the building three weeks ago and hopes to complete it by the end of the week.
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/web1_county1.jpgEdward Powers, owner and operator of Xtreme Kleaning Services LLC, washes the windows of the county’s new administration building on North Chestnut Street on Wednesday. Powers said the Whiteville-based cleaning service began cleaning the interior of the building three weeks ago and hopes to complete it by the end of the week.

Renovation of the Robeson County administrative building is on track to be complete in the next two weeks, according to County Manager Kellie Blue. Completion of the building, located at 500 N. Chestnut St. in Lumberton, has been set back more than a year.
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/web1_county3.jpgRenovation of the Robeson County administrative building is on track to be complete in the next two weeks, according to County Manager Kellie Blue. Completion of the building, located at 500 N. Chestnut St. in Lumberton, has been set back more than a year.

Blue
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/web1_kellie-blue-1-.jpgBlue
But county focus on fighting new coronavirus

Tomeka Sinclair

Staff writer

Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.

Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.