Northampton unveils plans

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2005

JACKSON – The first phase is adopted and plans are in place.

The Northampton County Board of Commissioners adopted phase one of the Northampton County Wellness and Cultural Complex Monday afternoon.

Architect Surapon Sujjavanich appeared before the Board with plans that would allow the commissioners to move forward with the first phase of a development, which will provide cultural, wellness and recreation facilities for the citizens of the county.

&uot;This plan has been being developed for about two years,&uot; Sujjavanich said. &uot;This will allow the citizens of Northampton County a place to have a healthier life, good education and will give them a place to go.&uot;

As presented and adopted, the plan will allow for the building of a community theater, an area for the aging program and the main lobby.

Sujjavanich said the seating in the theater would be removable, thus allowing the room to be used for a multitude of reasons.

Friday morning, Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins said the adoption of the first phase allowed the county to proceed with the $2 million grant and loan package through the United States Department of Agriculture.

&uot;The county’s work in the application process is complete,&uot; Jenkins said.

The manager said the application is now in the hands of the local USDA office in Williamston where it will be verified to make sure it meets eligibility and then it will be forwarded to the state and then on to Washington, D.C.

Once it is approved, the USDA will send a letter of conditions that will allow the county to accept the grant and loan after they meet requirements, which could include acquiring the property or an amount of time available for the money to be spent.

Jenkins said the county has identified several sites around the Jackson area and are currently in discussions with several landowners.

The manager said the county hoped they would receive a letter in mid-September and a groundbreaking ceremony would follow soon thereafter.

&uot;We could be at the point of construction in five or six months if all the pieces fall together,&uot; Jenkins said.

He said construction could begin as soon as the end of winter or the beginning of spring.

&uot;It’s very ambitious,&uot; Jenkins said. &uot;Things would have to fall into place for it to happen.&uot;