Many voice support, opposition to megasite plan at commissioners meeting

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — Hundreds of residents, along with county and city leaders, packed the county commissioners meeting Monday night surrounding an approval of $4.2 million to purchase 250-plus acres for a megasite.

The project -- expected to create thousands of jobs -- is getting a lot of support and opposition.

County economic development officials and leaders spoke in favor of the plan to build the 1,500-acre site, saying that it would be good for the economy and job growth.

The megasite is expected to attract a major car assembly plant and create at least 1,700 jobs. It would be built north of Liberty on US Highway 421.

Residents opposed to the project fear the megasite would destroy their rural community. They showed up to the meeting wearing red t-shirts with the phrase "No Megasite Here" written across it.

The phrase has been used for yard signs and other posters showing opposition to the site.

"These are our homes, where we raised our children," said resident Marjorie Beeson. "This is my livelihood. I just hate to see it destroyed."

"It's a big economic opportunity," said Bonnie Renfro, president of Randolph County Economic Development. "This is the kind of boost and the kind of transformative project that could make that happen.”

If approved, the county would move on taking over the 250-plus acres within the next 30 days.