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Granville commissioners approve DHHS move to Oxford

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OXFORD — The Granville County Board of Commissioners at a May 29 emergency meeting unanimously approved a motion for support of a state budget item that would move the State Department of Health and Human Services from Raleigh’s Dorothea Dix campus to Oxford.

The proposal, which was revealed in last week’s North Carolina Senate budget, included a $250 million appropriation to construct a new administrative facility for employees currently working at the Raleigh location. The Dix campus was sold to the city of Raleigh in 2015 and is to become a park.

Granville County leaders sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper, DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen and a number of legislators to show support of the project.

While the state of North Carolina currently owns land in the southern area of the county, the letter of support highlights the Triangle North Granville site. Triangle North Granville is a 527-acre business park located in Granville and Vance counties with approximately three miles of frontage on Interstate 85. If selected, DHHS will be the first tenant on the site, which is marketed as a Life Science and Technology Park.

In the letter, Granville County Manager Michael Felts cited water and sewer services from the city of Oxford and necessary infrastructure available to support the project. The move from one location to another is estimated to take at least five years.

Felts said that due to the sudden nature of the project proposal, he did not know how much of the 527 acres of Triangle North Granville would be used if approved.

Should the item be passed in the Senate budget, it would then have to go through a conference committee with state House representatives reviewing the item.

In his motion for approval of support, Commissioner David Smith said the county is excited for the project. Commissioner Tony Cozart expressed that sentiment, saying, “This is one of those things that comes around that you just get excited about and we surely support (Felts) anyway we can and hope it proves beneficial for the county.”