Off the List

Oct. 06, 2013 @ 05:55 PM

The vacant Evergreens nursing home and LifeSpan buildings at Five Points could get new life next year.
The two adjoining properties at 206 Greensboro Rd. across from the former Presbyterian Home could become temporary homes for veterans and a rehabilitation center.
The properties, valued at $3.1 million, have been vacant for some time and for sale since 2010. The Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last week to take the properties off the market for as long as 120 days and to explore leasing or selling them for the programs.  
Democratic Commissioner Bruce Davis, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he expected sponsors to bring a “comprehensive” plan  to commissioners “at some later date.”
“This property has been listed for three to four years,” Davis said. “It has been sitting there with a for sale sign and because of that it has been damaged. If we take the property off the market, these organizations will know we are supporting them.”
Davis said sponsors could draw federal funds from several sources to provide veterans services.  The Evergreens building needs electrical, plumbing and central heating work before it could be occupied.
“The veterans piece of this is critical,” Davis said. “We have a duty to take care of those who have served. There is a huge population coming back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Many older vets also have problems with depression and suicide pressures.
The Evergreens site became available when the managing residential health care providers decided to move their clients to new sites. The county was the landlord. The site is close to the intersection of the Interstate 74/U.S. 311 Bypass and Greensboro Road. The buildings were erected on the 21-acre site in 1977 and 1981. The former LifeSpan building at Beaumont Avenue includes a greenhouse and a warehouse. 
“This does not commit the board to do anything,” Davis said, “just to take the property off the market.”
Providing shelter for the homeless could become part of a “safety net,” Davis said, “to point them in the right places.”
Republican Commissioner Jeff Phillips suggested the 120-day withdrawal from the market.
“I am concerned that there is no organization up and running,” Phillips said. “I’d like to know more.”
Family Center: The board also voted unanimously to allow the Department of Social Services to use the county-owned vacant property at 6 Dundas Circle in Greensboro, another former LifeSpan site, for a family visitation center for children moving from family care to foster care.  The agency has $65,000 in grant funds that could go into renovations and repairs.
DSS Director Robert Williams told commissioners that the agency has been working on the project for several years. There also would be a parent training site to help parents with their children. The Annie E. Casey Foundation would help pay for expenses.
“The foundation has been looking for us to get this started for some time,” Williams said.
Sheriff’s Office: The board voted unanimously to buy the property at 508 Industrial Ave. in Greensboro for the Sheriff’s Office. The  $300,000 purchase price will come from federal forfeiture funds controlled by the sheriff.
Job Study: The board voted unanimously to pay the Piedmont Triad Regional Council $70,000 for a job classification and salary market study. Last month, commissioners set aside a $34,000  equity salary study that  showed it could  cost as much as $3.8 million to provide equity raises for 640 county employees.
County Manager Marty Lawing then said he wanted classification and market studies before considering equity, or how salaries compare with comparable jobs within county government.
Commissioners approved the equity survey after awarding late last year pay adjustments to 15 top administrators either hired by commissioners, elected by voters, or who report to the county manager or independent boards.

NO Sale

Before 2010: The former Evergreens building was once considered as a home for the Department of Social Services until county commissioners decided to buy the former Amos Hosiery mill building, constructed in 1916, at 325 Russell Ave.

Zoning: High Point and Guilford County leaders battled in 2011-12 over whether the Evergreens building should be sold to  Florida-based developer Geo Care, which eventually failed to win the necessary state permits to renovate the building into a 90-bed hospital for mentally incompetent criminal defendants or those found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity. Some city leaders favor a commercial development on the site.