At the October meeting of the Anson Economic Development Corporation, N.C. Rep. Mark Brody spoke with the local business and community leaders about partnerships that can help build Anson County’s economy.
“The regional partnerships are on their way out,” Brody said. “What’s supposed to take their place is what’s called Prosperity Zones.” The Prosperity Zones are completely voluntary, he explained, and will be privately funded.
Although Anson County withdrew from the Charlotte Regional Partnership last year, Brody said that the county may want to form “a loose connection” with Charlotte.
Anson Tourism Development Authority director Lynn Horton asked if it might be possible for higher wealth communities like Charlotte to partner with lower wealth communities like Anson. AEDC chairman Chuck Horne pointed out that was the original idea behind the Charlotte Regional Partnership, but most of the AEDC feels the county is better aligned with the Southeast Region, which runs down U.S. 74 all the way to Wilmington.
Economic development director Mary Beck added that under the Charlotte Regional Partnership, Anson County had received $76,000 a year. With the Southeast Region, Anson will receive $24,000 a year, but she said the money would be better spent. “As of June 30 of next year, there will not be any funding from the state,” she said. “Economic commissions will go to public-private partnerships.”
Brody said that another negative to the Charlotte Regional Partnership was that it includes five counties in South Carolina, which Anson and other N.C. counties are competing against for funds.
Beck said that the Southeast Region has already helped Anson “tremendously,” and is very interested in working with Anson County’s rail lines.
In other business, Horne made the AEDC members aware of a petition by the House Textile Caucus to urge the Obama Administration to keep American textile workers in mind when negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Although there is no objection to the TPP itself, Horne explained, Vietnam is hoping to implement new rules that would allow it to receive all its source textiles from China and export to the U.S. duty-free.