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EDC contracts firm to generate jobs

Stanly County’s Economic Development Commission will contract with Research on Investment (ROI) to help generate industrial leads.

Monday the EDC approved a deal with ROI to develop a target prospect client list. Plans call for the company to arrange qualified prospect meetings with at least 20 manufacturing related businesses during the first three quarters of 2019.

“The county will utilize lapse salaries accrued from the resignation of our full-time economic development director to fund the $22,000 initiative,” County Manager Andy Lucas said.

By using funds otherwise designated toward the former economic director’s salary the county will remain within its budget earmarked for economic development during the current fiscal year.

Retaining ROI comes during a period of economic promise for the county.

“The EDC has assisted with the announcement of three manufacturing business expansions or locations since Sept. 1, 2018,” Lucas said. “These announcements will lead to $6.5 million in taxable investment and 60-plus jobs. As such, economic activity from a manufacturing perspective has been encouraging.”

Retail development has been equally encouraging after trending upward over the past 24 months, he added.

Stanly’s EDC is currently working on 10 projects, which have included either visits to the county or requests of additional information after initial inquiries. As many as 875 jobs and more than $440 million in new taxable investment accompany these projects.

“There are a substantial number of jobs that could come to Stanly County if things fall into place,” said Rick Williams, chairman of the EDC.

Williams also applauded Stanly Community College’s continued commitment to programs aimed at training a qualified workforce and keeping the county in a competitive position.

County leaders have already begun creating product, land and building sites, to appeal to new industry. Riverstone Industrial Park in Stanfield has been designated as the county’s newest effort at providing site-ready product.

“Our problem right now is a lack of product,” Williams said of what prospective clients are seeking for locating new industry.

Recently, county commissioners awarded a $1.13 million contract to NJR Group, a local company, to construct an entrance road, install internal park sewer laterals, pump station and outfall to a Locust pump station and install a waterline to Riverstone.

Most of the funding, or $950,000, will be covered by a grant from the Utility Development Fund of the N.C. Department of Commerce. Plans call for the work to begin within the next 30-60 days.

Stanly County continues to secure easements for the waterline extension on Browns Hill Road. All easements are anticipated to be completed by next month with a project award to occur by the end of the first quarter or early second quarter.

Riverstone meets the county’s need for more product while providing prospective clients proximity to Charlotte and interstates.

“I believe businesses and entrepreneurs that want to be in the Charlotte region are realizing a location in Stanly County can improve their bottom line,” Lucas said.