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Down East Seniors talk economic development

The Down East Seniors Club held its March 28 meeting at the Blind Center of North Carolina in Washington. President Chip Ide led the meeting and opened by leading the singing of “God Bless America,” followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Charles Smith gave the invocation, and Ed Hamrick gave factoids for the date in history. Dick Paul provided humor.

Curtis Brookshire was recognized as a new member.

Smith introduced Martyn Johnson, director of economic development for Beaufort County. Johnson said the county has become a Tier Two county because its economy had increased. The county now has an unemployment rate of 5.1 percent, while the number of people in the labor force is decreasing. Last year, Johnson received 55 inquiries from a variety of industries considering locating here, many from companies that would process agricultural products. Nineteen of the companies visited here. The county skills center is currently being outfitted for a company that will roll-form metal panels for storage buildings. The building that X. O. Smith moved out of is being occupied by a new company that will make point-of-sale display racks and shelves. Since most companies that consider moving here are looking for an existing building, a new 25,000 square foot industry ready building was recently completed.

Brookshire won the 50/50 drawing.