Statement on Regional Branding & Economic Development Activities

Several media outlets have reported recently on joint economic development and branding activities being considered or conducted by the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County.

A reporter from one of our local media outlets asked if Brunswick County had an opinion on these initiatives.  We have not discussed these as a board, but I provided the reporter with the following statement that reflects my personal opinion:

“I am generally supportive of any reasonable activity that will spur economic growth in southeastern North Carolina.  Our region is comprised of numerous distinct communities that have different things to offer and, therefore, need different marketing strategies.  I am supportive of regional cooperation and collaboration where feasible, provided that they are not dominated by one jurisdiction to the exclusion of others.  A truly regional effort will take into account all of Brunswick and Pender Counties, as well as Columbus County.  I believe the Cape Fear Council of Governments (COG) would be an appropriate organization to facilitate a truly regional economic development discussion, for several reasons.  First, the COG’s board of directors is comprised entirely of county and municipal elected officials who are accountable to the voters.  Second, the COG’s board of directors is structured in a manner that prevents any one jurisdiction from gaining a monopoly — a fact that would protect the identity and character of smaller, more rural communities in southeastern North Carolina.”