The local Salvation Army has bid farewell to being based along Paul Street southwest of downtown for more than 62 years to open in the Telegram’s former headquarters along Hunter Hill Road on the northwest side of the city.

Maj. David Phelps, who co-leads the local Salvation Army with his wife, Amber, told the Telegram the Hunter Hill location was acquired in July 2018 for $1.3 million from JRN Properties. David Phelps said the location underwent a renovation after the newspaper moved out.

Phelps said an anonymous donation to the organization was key to completing the acquisition of the property and that a dedication is planned for Jan. 12.

The building is at 1000 Hunter Hill Road, between the Hunter Hill bridge over Wesleyan Boulevard and the junction of Hunter Hill and Country Club roads.

Of the organization’s new location, Phelps said, “Well, we really think it’s going to enhance our services to the community. That’s really the main reason why we moved.”

David and Amber Phelps became the operational leaders of the local Salvation Army in June 2018, but David Phelps said the organization internally had for years been discussing making a move to another location.

Phelps said the Hunter Hill location’s assets include being along a main thoroughfare and providing the organization with better public visibility while being along a public bus route.

The state Transportation Department’s most recent data shows the average daily traffic count at 9,200 in the immediate vicinity of the Hunter Hill location.

Phelps said the bottom line was that the local Salvation Army needed a readily identifiable place.

“It was the fact that we had been where we were for six decades and yet there were still people who had no idea where the Salvation Army was,” Phelps said.

The Paul Street location was dedicated in October 1957.

Phelps said there were instances of even lifelong Rocky Mount residents not knowing of the location.

Phelps said the question became sort of along the lines of, “Where can we go where we have maximum visibility and still serve the needs of the community?”

Phelps said when the Hunter Hill location came up for sale, “It was just kind of the perfect match for us.”

The Hunter Hill location once had been a YWCA building.

The location had been the Telegram’s home from January 2008 before the newspaper in December 2018 relocated into space at the Rocky Mount Mills commercial and residential development off Falls Road.

Prior to the Telegram moving into the Hunter Hill location, the newspaper had for roughly a decade been based in space at the Tiffany Office Square Complex off Tiffany Boulevard and near Benvenue Road.

Prior to that, the Telegram had since the 1920s been based downtown along Howard Street.

Phelps said the local Salvation Army is dealing with a real estate agency to sell the Paul Street location and that a church has expressed interest in making the purchase.

The Hunter Hill location is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. until noon and from 1-4 p.m.

The local Salvation Army can be reached at 252-446-4496.

The Salvation Army was established in 1865 in London to provide for desperately poor individuals and families.

The Salvation Army today is an international movement and an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church.

The agency’s message is based on the Bible and the agency’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in Christ’s name without discrimination.

The Salvation Army has been serving Edgecombe and Nash counties since 1915.