BIIC discusses economic development strategy

Published 5:57 pm Sunday, November 19, 2017

From the Business and Industry Innovation Council


Jamie Heath, Mid-East Commission planner, was welcomed as the guest speaker at the November BIIC meeting. Heath’s presentation and discussion were based on the Draft 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which is pending Mid-East board approval.

The Mid-East Commission was created by the state of North Carolina in May 1967 as a Regional Council of Governments serving the local governments and residents of Region “Q,” which is comprised of Beaufort, Bertie, Hertford, Martin and Pitt counties, as well as their municipalities. Each of the counties within the region is unique.

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy is designed and required to bring together the public and private sectors in creating a comprehensive and performance-based plan to strengthen the regional economy. A CEDS is required for a region to be eligible for assistance through Economic Development Administration programs. It is an excellent base for developing county and municipal economic development plans and strategies.

Heath recently worked with an advisory committee made up of public and private sector representatives from across the region on a major update to the Mid-East Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Beaufort County participants in the CEDS Advisory Committee included Randy Roark, Archie Griffin, Tim Barrett and Commissioner Jerry Evans.

The 2017 Mid-East Economic Development District Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy will help build a regional competitive advantage and leverage the marketplace by establishing and maintaining a robust regional infrastructure, thereby creating revitalized and vibrant communities, which will develop healthy and innovative people is the vision statement for the CEDS.

The CEDS report has detailed information on demographics, area economic performance factors, financial resources, taxes, infrastructure and transportation. Housing, education, crime rates, population and employment information is detailed for the region including Beaufort County.

Strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities for the region are detailed. Four specific CEDS goals were developed. Objectives, strategies and actions are included to achieve the goals. The Mid-East Commission is forming a CEDS implementation committee to work on all the initiatives laid out in the CEDS.


Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Goals

No. 1 — Brand and market the Mid-East region to support existing businesses, encourage entrepreneurship, highlight educational opportunities, foster continued development of target clusters, attract new employers, diversify the regional economy and retain the millennial generation.

No. 2 — Complete and maintain the physical infrastructure needed to support industrial, commercial and residential development in rural areas, including broadband service, multi-modal transportation connections and affordable housing.

No. 3 — Support and help revitalize safe, walkable communities with vibrant urban and town centers, thriving rural areas, a variety of housing options, affordable services and healthy citizens.

No. 4 — Develop a workforce with 21st-century skills by retaining the millennial generation, expanding access to higher education, workforce, and vocational training, increasing collaboration with employers, expanding access to entrepreneurial support and providing incubator spaces for small businesses.