Kerr-Tar Region, N.C. - County governments in Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties took first steps in March toward creating a nonprofit organization to own and operate the state's first multi-jurisdictional industrial park.

County commissioners approved non-binding letters of intent to develop a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that will own, develop, market and manage a planned technology park in the region. The park - a "hub" of business development comprising four sites in the region - is being designed to attract growth companies and high-paying jobs for residents. It will be the first business park in the state for which governments share costs and revenues across county lines.

"Our counties continue to pave the way in this innovative rural economic development strategy," says Neil Mallory, executive director of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, which has facilitated the development of the hub project through the planning stages. "Our continued success in this collaborative endeavor will not only help our counties create jobs and economic opportunity, but provide a road map for other rural communities in the state to return to prosperity."

The four counties have agreed in their letters of intent to:

  • Form and financially support a nonprofit that will acquire property for the hub and develop market and manage it.
  • Form a board of directors comprising one appointed member from each county (an elected commissioner or senior staff person) plus five to 11 others elected by the four appointed members. The additional board members will be selected for their expertise in areas that are critical to the hub's success (e.g., development, finance, land planning, fund raising and marketing). Members will be dispersed as much as possible among the four counties. 
  • Develop the four hub sites that have been identified in the region, as funds allow. 
  • Share proportionately in both costs and revenues. 
  • Develop a financing plan for developing the hub.

With letters of intent approved, the four counties now proceed with negotiating the final terms and conditions (called "definitive documents") required to operate the nonprofit. Those documents must be ratified by the four boards of county commissioners.

The four counties announced their representatives to the nonprofit hub board:

  • Franklin County Commissioner Don Lancaster.
  • Granville County Commissioner W. E. "Pete" Averette. 
  • Vance County Commissioner Danny Wright. 
  • Warren County Commissioner Clinton Alston.

The counties' latest actions follow the February public announcement of the consultant's recommendations for the location of the hub site. The Sanford Holshouser Business Development Group coordinated the process by which four sites proposed by the counties were certified for development and evaluated to determine which had the greatest potential for success.

The firm recommended that sites proposed by Vance and Granville counties be combined and developed as the first hub site. The sites are located along Interstate 85 near Vance-Granville Community College. The firm also recommended that sites in Franklin and Warren counties be developed concurrently, if funds allow, targeting distinct but complementary markets.

Hub officials plan to contract with the Carolina Center for Competitive Economies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to analyze which targeted industries are most suited for the hub and provide financial models for its development.

For more information, visit the hub Web site at www.kerrtarhub.org or contact Neil Mallory at (252) 436-2040 or nmallory@kerrtarcog.org.

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