Tourists drive Washington: Hodges has economic plans for cityPublished 5:19pm Monday, May 26, 2014
Historically, the Pamlico-Tar River always has been the economic engine for the city of Washington and Mayor Mac Hodges wants to build on to that. Hodges said he wants to continue building the waterfront and the outlaying areas.
With the unofficial start of summer on Monday, Hodges has high hopes for the city’s economic development this season.
Much of the economy comes from people who day trip to Washington, shop or visit the attractions, like the North Carolina Estuarium and Turnage Theater.
Along with the shopping, Hodges enjoys seeing people in town for the Washington Summer Festival and the Turnage Theater shows. He’d also like to see people using the Washington Civic Center, Festival Park and Havens Gardens.
“I want to build on our downtown attractions,” Hodges said. “I want the grandparents and the grandkids to come walk on the waterfront and also stay and eat. I also want weddings and the Estuarium to be a part of it (the economy).”
Hodges’ goal for the city is to get a downtown hotel. He said it would help boost the economy, either near the river or possibly at the old Hotel Louise.
“We’re always about talking about a hotel downtown,” Hodges said. “Hotel Louise could get remodeled, but it needs a lot of work. Commercial loans and real estate are tough to get.”
Hotel Louise is for sale and currently listed at $659,000. The buyer could possibly receive restoration tax credits, according to the listing.
“We have brought business to Washington in Zaxby’s, Cook Out and NFL Days,” Hodges said. “They have all been a partner with Washington and our plans are moving forward and it has been very positive.”
The mayor would also like to see more nightlife so residents don’t need to go outside of Washington. Hodges said he would like to see more live music so people have a chance to hear more music.
He knows the stores and shops are great for the local economy because that is one of the reasons that brings people to Washington.
“There are 100 parts to tourism, but we work on the ones we can,” Hodges said.