OPINION: What Makes Stanly County Great?
Published 11:06 am Wednesday, August 11, 2021
I have been fortunate and humbled to have lived in Stanly County for the past 13 years and serve as county manager.
Stanly County has much to offer such as its rivers, lakes, Morrow Mountain State Park and other natural amenities. However, for me Stanly County is great because of our people and civic pride.
All over Stanly County there are neighborhoods where folks consistently gather together, check on the elderly and kids play outside from dawn to dusk. Small, family-owned businesses and even larger corporations donate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to local ball teams, high school athletics, arts and cultural events, nonprofits and much more. Further, local banks and small businesses get to know you by name.
Having lived in larger communities, it is hard to put into words the value of having a relationship with your local bakery, restaurant, mechanic, banker, electrician or any other service industry. This is a result of our people.
Stanly County has its roots in agricultural and industrial manufacturing. Both of these industries invoked and instilled a deep sense of community. Whether it was the rural neighbors and family members coming together for a harvest or neighbors helping each other in the various mill towns across our great county, community pride is everywhere. This community pride is now part of our collective DNA. It has helped to define how folks interact and has created certain community expectations.
Community fosters relationships, friendships and helps to build trust. Relationships are what makes this place special. We are very fortunate to live in a gem of a community. Can it be improved? Of course, there is always room for improvement. However, more and more folks are beginning to discover our great community, which is evident by the new housing growth and the increase in business and retail development.
I am confident new residents and businesses will also fall in love with Stanly County as a result of our people.
* * *
When it comes to being able to live, work and raise a family, Stanly County is an excellent choice for business and residency. While taking a stroll downtown through the county seat, families can enjoy caffeinated sips at Glory Beans Coffee Shop, grab some local fresh produce at the Farmers Market, or enjoy lunch or a scoop at Second Street Sundries. If you’d like a sweet treat that has withstood the test of time, pick up a signature clown cookie at the 100-year-old Albemarle Sweet Shop. While enjoying downtown, take in a bit of history as you pass the historic Opera House or Alameda Movie Theatre and learn facts of the past by touring one of the many rotating exhibits at the History Center or house museums. Drop into the library to browse the latest releases, or enjoy story time before continuing your day enjoying all that our beautiful county has to offer.
If you’re looking for some outdoor fun, rent kayaks at Morrow Mountain to explore Lake Tillery or visit the Badin swimming area and boat access to enjoy Stanly County from the water. Head south for a horseback ride at Fork Farm or north for a tour of the Stanly County Airport and a view of our land from the sky. After a long and fulfilling day, turn up the radio and relax under the stars by watching a film at the Badin Road Drive-In, one of the few drive-in movie theaters still operating in the U.S.
With so much to do in Stanly County, there’s no need to leave, but when vacation awaits, our central location in the state makes a drive to the mountains or the beach possible in only three hours. If you’re looking for a place to live and love, Stanly County is easy to adore.
* * *
* * *
Stanly County offers the opportunities and amenities that make our county a destination for anyone looking for a place to live or visit. We are experiencing unprecedented growth in Albemarle and look forward to what the future will bring.
Parks are one of our greatest assets next to the people of our county. Nearly every community has a park available. Albemarle has several parks with a variety of amenities. Whether you are looking to attend a concert, fish in City Lake, swim in a pool, play tennis, basketball, pickleball, disc golf, picnic, take a walk on one of many trails or just take the kids to the playground equipment, we have what you are looking for.
The city also offers two amenities not found often. A dog park is available for everyone to allow their dogs the opportunity to exercise and run within a fenced in area.
The city partnered with Carolina Treetops to bring an exciting and adventurous ropes and rappelling course to Rock Creek Park. Courses are available for adults and children. Consider a family adventure to Rock Creek to test your skills and follow with a swim, picnic or walk.
Morrow Mountain State Park offers canoes, kayaking, camping, swimming, walking trail and much more.
Our communities offer a great advanced education. Stanly Community College is one of the premier institutions in the nation. The college consistently ranks near the top. There are many programs available without leaving home. The School of Nursing is rated extremely high and prepares the students for the world of health care. Advanced Manufacturing offers career trade classes for individuals that are looking to work in trades without attending college classes.
Pfeiffer University offers traditional university degrees and more. Health Sciences are available on the original campus and now in Albemarle. The Albemarle campus offers a Physician Assistant program and Occupational Therapy. The community has adopted Pfeiffer and students are active in downtown.
The downtown is in the process of a major transformation with old buildings being remodeled for apartments and business. Many new businesses are locating in the downtown and more are anticipated. If you are looking to invest, the city looks forward to working with you. We invite everyone to visit our downtown businesses and see what you are missing.
* * *
Stanly County is no doubt an absolutely wonderful place to call home. It hosts some of the most beautiful landscapes and unique businesses in North Carolina — not to mention a great location between mountains and coast.
My focus will be on the South Stanly/Norwood area. If you spend any amount of time on beautiful Lake Tillery, you will quickly realize that it is a gem of Stanly County that is quickly gaining attention.
Lake homes are being developed at an exploding rate, which in turn is expanding growth and development in the Norwood area. There have been over eight new business ribbon cutting ceremonies in Norwood over the last two months.
Calls for new mom and pop shops are revitalizing the quaint little town. New restaurants are being developed as we speak and new businesses are complimenting ones who have been serving for years.
One local Norwood business, Advertise It, has been serving the community for years — outfitting Norwood’s youth sports teams every season with jerseys and gear.
The Fork Farm and Stables, another unique business, has hosted the Olympic Trials for years for Equestrian Cross Country, and now is a host of a wonderful clay shooting venue.
Juneberry Ridge, formerly Lucky Clays Farms, has been serving the community with fresh produce and is now hosting an amazing summer concert series for families.
Michelin in Norwood works on developing and building aircraft tires for the private sector as well as the military.
With all the uniqueness that Norwood has to offer, it is still the people that drive the community and bring heart and soul to the town.
We are blessed to live in an amazing county like Stanly, and Norwood is just one of many reasons to bring your family and business to the area.
police chief, Norwood
* * *
Our journey to Stanly County started about half a century ago from India when we immigrated to the United States.
In India we grew up in a moderately big size city crowded with a lot of hustle and bustle. In the U.S. we landed in Baltimore where I had accepted surgery residency. Two years later we moved to New York City. My wife or I were spending one and a half hours one way to commute to hospitals.
Then finally and fortunately 42 years ago we chose Stanly County to be our home for medical practice in affiliation with the hospital.
We found this county to be beautiful with open areas, beautiful farms, site of grazing cows and horses. Stanly County has a well-equipped beautiful hospital now a part of the Atrium health care system. It is home to Pfeiffer University and Stanly Community College, which provides dedicated, knowledgeable, well educated workers in many fields to fulfill the need of local industries as well as future new industries.
Beautiful lakes and Morrow Mountain make the landscape of this county.
My wife and I retired from medical practice six years ago and we continue to live here. We love this county, people here are wonderful, weather is great. From here the commute to Charlotte and CLT airport is just about an hour and commute to Greensboro, Winston-Salem airport’s hour and 15 minutes. Traveling just 2.5 hours we can enjoy the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and in about 2.5 hours in the other direction we can enjoy the beaches of Atlantic Ocean.
The Stanly County Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Commission and Visitors Bureau are very helpful to anyone who may be seeking any type of help to make Stanly County their home.
Stanly County also have two Rotary clubs which provide wonderful fellowship and opportunity for various service programs and leadership.
Dr. Surendrapal Mac
president, Albemarle Rotary Club