County, city leaders seek answers on new economic development group

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 08:36 AM.

Craven County’s new economic development director is expected to lead the new nonprofit group, and the Craven County Board of Commissioners has tentatively agreed to fund additional staff if necessary.

Commissioner Steve Tyson said that several people involved in the process met with Wayne County economic development leaders recently.

“I think what worked best for Wayne County will work best for us as well,” he said. “The county provides most of the money, but having the partnerships allows them to have a collaborative effort that can have fundraisers.”

He said in Wayne County, similar to Craven because it has a military air base, the private sector raised about $3.2 million with the promise of creating a certain number of jobs.

“Counties don’t have sewer, power and other services that attract business that municipalities do have, that community colleges do have, that hospitals do have,” Tyson said. “If you want someone to take an interest in something, you try to get a little bit of money out of them.”

Craven Community College President Catherine Chew said she attended Wayne County meetings, and the newly created economic development nonprofit had a memorandum of understanding for measurable delivery of jobs over five years or a return of the money.

The community that contributed, if they didn’t feel good about it, had an out in the end, she said.

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