Kerr-Tar Region, N.C. – The development of an innovative industrial park in North’s Carolina’s rural Kerr-Tar Region received a major boost in August with a $4 million appropriation from the N.C. General Assembly.
“We’re gratified that state officials have chosen to make this significant investment in the Kerr-Tar Hub to catalyze economic growth in our region and replace the jobs and businesses in traditional industries that were lost in recent years,” said Neil Mallory, executive director of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, which is coordinating the Hub project. “By collaborating as a region, we expect to transform our economic climate in a way that none of our counties could do on their own. We also hope to pave the way for other communities in our state who are working hard to create economic prosperity for their citizens.”
The Kerr-Tar Hub is a multi-county effort to create a regional technology center that will serve as a magnet for business investment to the region. Hub officials in February concluded several years of planning and exploration with the announcement of the priority Hub site to be developed – 1000 acres in both Vance and Granville counties that run along Interstate 85 near Vance-Granville Community College. The college has pledged training and human resource development support for companies that locate in the Hub.
Since February, regional officials have created a nonprofit entity, the Kerr-Tar Regional Economic Development Corporation, which will own and develop the four Hub sites in the region, including the Vance-Granville priority site. A 12-member board of representatives has been named to represent the four participating counties. Vance County Commissioner Danny Wright was elected to serve as the board’s first chair. The board plans to appoint three at-large members, including its first appointee, Billy Ray Hall, director of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center.
The board is developing a working agreement that will spell out how the four counties will share both development costs and tax revenues generated by North Carolina’s first-ever multi-jurisdictional business park.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Center for Competitive Economies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is analyzing which targeted industries are most suited for the Hub and developing financial models for its development under various scenarios. The Center (formerly called the Office of Economic Development) conducted the 2003 feasibility study that led to the Hub project.
With the state’s funding appropriation, Hub officials move forward on master planning and development of the Hub project. That work includes securing (through purchase or other means) the Hub site property, expanding some infrastructure, preparing the sites and recruiting new and expanding businesses.
For more information on the Hub project, visit www.kerrtarhub.org or contact Neil Mallory, executive director of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, (252) 436-2040.