Report notes changes in east

Published 12:50 am Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eastern North Carolina is changing. Whether that is for the worse or better is uncertain, according to a report.

The report, issued by the UNC Program on Public Life in collaboration with North Carolina’s Eastern Region, one of the state’s seven economic-development partnerships, was published in the July 2011 issue of Carolina Context. It looks at the future of eastern North Carolina as a metropolitan opportunity.

The report reviewed 13 counties in eastern North Carolina, including Nash, Edgecombe, Pitt and Wilson. Beaufort County is not included in the report.

The report has a set of principal findings about eastern North Carolina, or “The Eastern Region.” A summary of the findings describes the need for young professionals to be engaged in the area, the prominence of culture clashes, the need for more small-business enterprises that provide lifestyle amenities and the location of Greenville as a strong metropolitan hub for future development in the region.

Ferrel Guillory, founder of the Program on Public Life, noted that even though Beaufort County is not included in the report, the report’s findings could still be applied to the area.

“The vitality of eastern North Carolina has a lot to do with the ripple effects from Greenville,” he said.

A section on retaining young professionals provides some interesting insights.

“City leaders are old and traditional. They are not willing to try new things or change the status quo,” said a married, white male, age 28.

“What makes eastern North Carolina so charming is what holds it back,” said a married, white female, age 40.

“Natives have given up on improving the city,” said a married white female, age 30.

Guillory said protecting the identities of the young people interviewed for the report is important for its purpose.

“Under the rules that the university operates under, when you are doing research on human subjects, the government requires, and the university requires, that we know who the people are,” he said. “However, they are promised anonymity.

We had to characterize them; there is a complex set of rules around it. It has to do with university research on human subjects.”

Guillory indicated all interviews were face-to-face interviews. The interviews were conducted with a questionnaire and on a systematic basis.

Guillory said he anticipates the ECU Business Leadership Institute conducting some new research that’s related to the report.