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County veterans office on the move

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

 

The Lincoln County Veterans Services Office is moving today to the first floor of the Medical Arts Building on Gamble Drive in Lincolnton, located adjacent to the old hospital.
Following the relocation, the office will reopen on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
In a notice delivered to the Times-News, Veterans Services Officer Eric Robinson said the office’s phone number will remain the same and that once he is situated at the new location, “all appointments and calls from veterans and families will be put in order.”
Additionally, due to the move, he said he will not put out an email newsletter for the month of December.
Assistant County Manager Martha Lide said the Home Health Office will also be moving to the first floor of the Medical Arts Building at this time. Currently located in the Carolina Shopping Center on East Main Street, the office, whose lease was up for renewal, is being relocated to the county-owned building to save on rent.
Lide said this decision will save the county roughly $31,000 over the next year, and only minor changes, such as taking out sinks, needed to be made in order to accommodate the move.
These are not the only migrations of county offices to the old Lincoln County hospital in recent months. As the Times-News previously reported, the Register of Deeds Office has temporarily relocated to the complex while its permanent facility undergoes renovation. Additionally, the library used some space in the building for storage purposes during its book sale and while under construction.
In past years, there has been much discussion among county officials regarding what to do with the old hospital building, said Lide.
“Vacant buildings deteriorate quickly,” she added.
Plans were made to move the county administration to the building and eventually begin consolidating other offices there, as well. Lide noted that where each department would go was even mapped out. However, those plans have been on hold since the economic downturn. And as of now, Lide said, they are “on the shelf because there is no money for it.”
Nonetheless, for the Veterans Services Office, the move will come with plenty of benefits. The office, which was previously located in the Senior Center at Gaston College’s Lincolnton campus on South Academy Street, will have improved parking and a waiting area at its new location, said Lide.
Furthermore, Lide added that Robinson will no longer have to deal with disturbances associated with being near a large activity area. She also noted that, in moving to the first floor of the Medical Arts Building, the office will now be where it was actually planned to be located in the long run, when the county initially mapped out the relocation of offices.
For now, Lide said the county will “use the space as best we can.”

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