Flooding from Tropical Storm Julia and Hurricane Matthew destroyed the Bertie County library, Cooperative Extension building, and a community building owned by the Town of Windsor and used by Bertie County. In October 2018, through the state-funded disaster recovery grant program, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $4,125,768.75 to Bertie County to support the construction of a replacement building to house the library, Cooperative Extension, and a community meeting space.
The new building was celebrated with a ribbon cutting on June 16, 2021.
“Golden LEAF was extremely helpful with recovery efforts by making this beautiful, new joint facility possible,” said Juan Vaughan, II, Bertie County Manager. “From planning to construction, Golden LEAF is ultimately responsible for making this project successful.”
The community has provided positive feedback about this new, modern facility, said Vaughan.
“The funding was a tremendous boost to our County and the projects that needed to be addressed,” said Bertie County Extension Director William Barrow, Jr. “There were more than enough incurred expenses to go around, following the storms.”
The County Manager and County Commissioners aligned resources to move debris, relocated the N.C. Cooperative Extension Bertie Center and the Bertie County Library into temporary quarters, addressed road closures and repairs, and arranged temporary housing for those in need, said Barrow.
“This project would never have happened as it did without the funding from Golden LEAF Foundation,” said Barrow. “It was and has been a great stimulus for a resilient county.”
New amenities in the shared building include a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, a shared conference center, and enhanced internet service. By co-locating the facility, the County was able to leverage resources and reduce costs compared to replacing each building individually. The new building is also located at a higher elevation than the former sites, helping to increase resilience from future storms.
“We are grateful for the work done by our County Manager and Commissioners and the reception of Golden LEAF to the idea and need of relocating both our Cooperative Extension Office and the Bertie County Library,” said Barrow. “The facilities are a tremendous asset to Bertie County.”
Hugh Davis, Director of the Albemarle Regional Library in Bertie County said the new space has been a dream come true.
“It was wonderful that the Golden LEAF Foundation could help us achieve our dream of having a beautiful, new library to serve the citizens of Bertie County,” said Davis. “By having the opportunity to work with Golden LEAF, we could be assured that the library would be able to find a new, permanent home. We feel very fortunate to have this new space.”
The Disaster Recovery Grant Program is funded through appropriations from the State of North Carolina to the Golden LEAF Foundation to make grants to governmental entities and 501(c)(3) nonprofits to repair or replace infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, Michael, and Dorian.