02/27/04 — Duplin's strategic plan

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Duplin's strategic plan

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 27, 2004 1:56 PM

The Duplin County commissioners plan to vote in April about adopting a strategic plan developed over the past two years by a committee and several subcommittees.

The committees have been working since December 2002 on community buildings, education and economic development.

They have worked hard on the plan, said County Planner Mike Aldridge. He told commissioners during a two-day work session this month that he's afraid the committee members will lose interest if the county doesn't do something soon.

The board was discussing privatizing the Economic Development Commission, one of the goals set by the Strategic Planning Committee.

What the county has done in the past obviously is not working, said Commissioner Reginald Wells. "There are empty buildings in Wallace everywhere."

County Manager Fred Eldridge said he has talked to the N.C. Ports Division about the possibility of building a warehouse beside Interstate 40, which runs through Duplin County. He is hoping the warehouse would attract companies and put the area in a foreign trade zone.

"We're strategically located here," he said. "I'm trying to play every angle I can think of to expand our opportunities, but I still need to run a county."

The commissioners want to encourage more people to get into the agriculture business. Commissioner Arliss Albertson said the county has 50 empty chicken houses from when Perdue decided last year to cut back on purchasing from local producers.

"Something could be grown in these houses, even if it's just shrubbery," he said.

The county is planning to hire a marketing manager to help get the word out about the county to prospective companies.