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A private company has shown an interest in the former Rosemary Mill off Tenth Street in Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County Economic Development Director Cathy Scott told commissioners at their meeting Monday.

Scott said she planned to discuss the matter further with commissioners in a closed session. Before going into the closed session Scott declined to immediately name the company or the nature of its business.

Her report noted the ready for reuse designation of the building is near completion and due diligence is underway for the sale of the building.

The Halifax County Economic Development Commission will be working with the prospective owners to negotiate the final Brownfields agreement. A draft Brownfields agreement is currently in place.

The former textile mill was closed in early 2000, Scott told the board.

The property was then bought by a private individual who tore down much of the mill closest to Tenth Street to sell the wood and brick to home renovators in the north. “There was a lot of good money made from that but it’s really just sat there for a number of years without any interest in further development,” Scott said.

The county’s economic development commission with the support of the commissioners  became “more or less a facilitator to try and see if we could get this property turned around,” Scott said.

Because the site is contaminated Scott said the county needed support from the state and others to fund environmental studies.

The Upper Coastal Plains Council on Government Brownfields program got funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to help do some of the assessments.

“We spent a little over $140,000 on assessments in the last seven years,” Scott said, adding, “There is a Brownfields agreement in place for this facility. It’s been almost seven years and we do have interest in this facility by a private company.”

The Brownfields program is the state's effort to guide developers and companies to the redevelopment of these sites. 

The Brownfields Property Reuse Act of 1997 sets forth the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s authority to work with prospective developers to put these sites back into reuse.

Courthouse renovation

In another matter the board approved the county manager to enter into a contract with Moseley Architects to update plans for the court services building on Ferrell Lane in Halifax.

The building was constructed in 1987 and has three floors, County Manager Dia Denton said in a memo to the board contained in the agenda package.

Each floor spans 18,000-square-feet while the third floor is unfinished and is currently used as storage space. 

The first and second floors are in need of renovation.

“Throughout the CSB, needs have changed and grown over the years,” the memo said. “Most of the current offices — both county and state — have outgrown their current spaces and need space for staff, equipment and storage.”

County staff have met with representatives of each county department or state agency housed in the CSB to assess the current situation and determine needs. They have been able to take an older set of plans and make some revisions based on present-day needs, based on discussions with building tenants.

The county received a $450,000 grant from the state to fund the beginning stages of this project.

“We anticipate more funding from the next state budget in order to complete the construction,” Denton told the board. “We had a set of plans from at least 1999. They’ve changed over 20 years. We are ready to give these to an architect to update.”