By SHAUN SAVARESE
Of The Record Staff
The Harnett County motto “Strong Roots, New Growth” is being tested this week as many county offices uproot from their homes to new locations.
The Harnett County Manager’s Office was in transition, beginning Tuesday, moving everything across the Cape Fear River, from 102 E. Front St. to 420 McKinney Parkway in Lillington.
Several departments were immersed in the move yesterday as furniture, computers, documents — even the county seal — was taken over the bridge, and a little closer to the courthouse.
“We’re thrilled to finally be at this point,” interim Assistant County Manager Brian Haney said of move-in week. The Harnett County Finance Office, Human Resources, Legal Services and Parks and Recreation also moved.
The Harnett County office of the N.C. Forest Service, has moved from 103 E. Ivey St. to the Agriculture Building at 126 Alexander Drive, Lillington.
Harnett County Development Services will remain at its current location of 104 E. Front St., and Harnett County Engineering and Solid Waste will remain at 102 E. Front St.
“County government is continuous,” Mr. Haney explained. “We had to work moving around county operations to make sure there would be as little of a disruption as possible.”
Mr. Haney credited Capital Projects Construction Manager Chris Johnson for the move being ahead of schedule. “He’s been an incredibly valuable asset in managing this project and getting everything done,” he said.
Mr. Johnson estimated the moving project has taken more than two months to coordinate. “It was their vision,” Mr. Johnson said. “I just made it happen.”
Though Mr. Haney said the move has created little disruption to this, he’s aware there may be some service limitations in the coming weeks and thanked citizens in advance for their patience.
He believes the temporary relocation is a step in creating a county “campus,” saying he hopes the McKinney Parkway location is “a more convenient site for both staff and citizens.” The new location is next to Harnett County Public Utilities and nearby the courthouse.
“Everybody that is in this building was in the old building, just the layout’s different,” Mr. Haney said, “This is actually putting us a lot closer together … . This space will allow for a lot more collaboration, which is what we are looking for.” He said increased storage and monetary savings are also benefits of the relocation.
The move came as the result of an agreement between Harnett County and the Town of Lillington in which the county received the property at 420 McKinney Parkway, along with two acres of land behind the county garage on East McNeill Street, and a three-acre tract near the corner of McKinney Parkway and Cornelius Harnett Boulevard. In return, the Town of Lillington received the County Administration Building at 102 E. Front St., along with all countyowned property on the block.
Lillington Town Manager Joseph Jeffries said his office is “really excited” to be relocating. “We’re excited that we could work out the arrangement between the county and the town,” he said, hoping Lillington will be able to expand services and create more opportunities for its people.
Mr. Jeffries noted that the old Lillington Town Hall will become a museum and Lillington Chamber of Commerce office space.
The next Harnett County Board of Commissioners work session, scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m., will be held at 420 McKinney Pkwy. as well as other future meetings.
A public open house will be held at the new county administration building Monday, Feb. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m.