Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Proposed sale of former pharmacy bursts county’s plan to move elections office

A routine update on Alamance County’s facilities this week brought the metaphorical wrecking ball down on a plan to consolidate its election-related operations on the grounds of a defunct pharmacy in Burlington.

During a meeting of Alamance County’s board of commissioners on Monday, county manager Bryan Hagood acknowledged a change in the status of the former Medicap pharmacy at 378 Harden Street that effectively delivered the death blow to its potential use as a new home for the local elections office.

“We were informed very, very recently that the owner has the building under contract,” Hagood told the county’s governing board in his report.

The county manager had previously floated this building, which the county already leases to store elections equipment, as a prospective new location for the elections office, which is currently situated at the corner of South Maple and East Pine streets in Graham. The county’s election staff will eventually lose this abode as part of a long-term plan that Hagood has previously articulated to redevelop this block of downtown Graham, which is dominated by Alamance County’s jail and the Judge J.B. Allen Jr. Criminal Courthouse.

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Hagood had previously pitched the former Medicap building as a reasonable place to relocate the elections staff and their equipment before their existing quarters are razed. On Monday, however, the county manager conceded that the county must now scout out new sites for the elections office as well as alternative locations for the equipment once its current lease on the former Medicap building runs out at the end of October. He noted that, to make matters worse, the county will have to vacate the old pharmacy less than a week before this year’s municipal elections, which are slated to take place on Tuesday, November 2.

The suddenness of this development was later reiterated by the chairman of Alamance County’s commissioners John Paisley, Jr. Paisley observed that the change of plans which Hagood articulated had only arisen that morning, when he and other county officials got their first whiff of the pharmacy’s proposed sale.

“So, this is brand slap[ping] new,” Paisley told the rest of the commissioners at Monday night’s meeting, “and I would encourage us to move quickly but carefully.”

In addition to the revised plans for the elections office, Hagood notified the commissioners of some progress on the proposed development of a new EMS base in Mebane. The county manager said that he and his colleagues have been evaluating a potential site for this $3.5 million facility that they expect to bring before the commissioners during the third week of September.

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