County residents get first look at newly-renovated Cooperative Extension office
Inside the renovated Lenoir County Cooperative Extension is a plaque recognizing the Golden Leaf Foundation and the N.C. State Extension. Photo by Michelle Taylor / Neuse News
Residents lined up to get a look at the newly renovated Lenoir County Cooperative Extension building on Thursday.
Lenoir County officials, Extension staff and residents from all over gathered to watch the official ribbon-cutting ceremony sponsored by the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce, as well as take part of an open house that allowed people an inside look at the new facility.
“This is a great facility and I think it’s going to be great for our community,” Craig Hill, chairman of the Lenoir County commissioners, said.
Prior to the ribbon-cutting, many officials spoke about the hard work and dedication that brought everyone to this event.
“This is not just a ribbon-cutting or an open house for me, this has been my way of life ever since I was a youngster,” Linda Rouse Sutton, Lenoir County commissioner, said. “It is my honor and privilege to be here today.”
Tammy Kelly, Lenoir County cooperative extension director, said she was thrilled with the turnout for Thursday's ceremony.
“The open house has been fabulous, very well-attended,” Kelly said. “I am surprised by such a huge crowd; I’m pleased, very pleased. We’re happy to show off everything. We love our office and are very proud of it.”
Many employees of the Cooperative Extension were in attendance which included city, county and state officials. Kinston and Lenoir County residents and members of the agricultural community were also in attendance and included many students involved in the FFA.
“I know it's going to have a profound effect on the community because without this agency you're not able to have connections,” Logan Clark, North Lenoir FFA president, said. “It brings big communities together.”
Now that the opening is official, Kelly hopes the Extension can continue to move forward.
“We want to get back to normal, normal programming,” Kelly said. “That's the main thing, using the kitchen and the meeting rooms. We’re really excited about it.”
Residents and organizations have already started using the facilities. Earlier this week, a banquet was held at the new facility and Kelly said it was a success.
She said the next step is for the facility to get its phones and internet up and running by next week.
The new facility recently opened after post-Hurricane Matthew flooding damaged the building. Since the flood almost two years ago, the old facility was burned down, raised approximately 4 feet and the new facility was constructed.