Durham, North Carolina is located in the central portion of the state, halfway between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the pristine beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. A community of 270,943 residents, Durham is the fifth largest city in the state and is home to Duke University, North Carolina Central University, Research Triangle Park, and the Durham Bulls Baseball Team. Durham County has evolved from an agricultural and manufacturing economy to attain world-class status in the areas of medicine and high technology. Durham has become one of the country’s most desirable places to live. The internationally known Research Triangle Park is home to more than 170 major research and development organizations including IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Nortel, Cisco, RTI International, and Sumitomo Electric Lightwave. These companies and others in the park employ approximately 42,000 people. Other major research and development organizations, including BD Technologies, Syngenta Biotechnology, HDH Pharma, BioMedomics, Freudenberg Nonwovens and AW North Carolina are located in the northern section of the county.
The County is governed by a County Manager and a five member Board of County Commissioners. The board members who serve four year terms are elected at-large, on a partisan basis by a countywide vote. The County employs approximately 1,800 employees.
Durham County Government has been a catalyst for ongoing economic development and the demand for public services continues. Over the past several years, an emergency medical services facility and new Senior Center was built and improvements have been made to schools, libraries, Durham Technical Community College and the Museum of Life and Science. The new Human Services Complex, which currently houses the Public Health Department opened in Spring 2011. Social Services is slated to move into the complex in 2013. The Durham Performing Arts Center, located downtown in the American Tobacco Historic District opened in Fall 2008 and is the largest of its kind in North and South Carolina. The 2,800 seat multi-use theater offers a variety of first-run Broadway shows, concerts, family shows and other events. These additions and improvements will go a long way towards maintaining Durham County’s enviable quality of life.