There’s a list of reasons why Forbes Magazine ranked North Carolina as 2017’s Best State for Business. At the top of that list: low business costs, incentives and a young, educated workforce.
I’d like to add “location,” “opportunity” and “quality of life” to that list, because those are three things that help make Currituck the Best County in the Best State for Business.
Those who visit northeastern North Carolina know that there’s something special about our part of the world. People who live and work here understand it even more.
As Economic Development Director, part of my job is translating that “something special” into a language that makes sense for new and expanding business owners.
How do we attract outside companies to Currituck County? How do we help local businesses thrive? How do we grow the local economy?
One project at a time.
One of the county’s biggest projects will transform over 3,000 acres in Moyock.
Currituck Station is part of a long-term economic development plan to attract residential and commercial opportunities.
While you may be familiar with other mega-sites that are designed to attract large industrial or manufacturing companies, Currituck Station is a mixed-use project. That means it will include a wide variety of space including retail, commercial, office, industrial and residential. The goal is to create a kind of “Moyock town center,” where residents can live, work and play.
The Currituck Station site is adjacent to the border with Virginia and located on the western side of North Carolina 168/Caratoke Highway. It’s perfectly positioned to take advantage of a growing upper Currituck population and can become a vibrant attraction for both residents and visitors.
Keep in mind that Currituck Station is not something that will spring up overnight. It’s part of a larger vision for the county that requires the collaboration of private citizens, the business community and local government. It’s still in the planning stages and development won’t likely start until late 2018 or early 2019.
Every day, the Mid-Currituck Bridge is closer to becoming a reality.
The proposed 7-mile toll bridge will connect mainland Currituck County to Corolla and the Outer Banks. This major infrastructure project has been in development for years, but will take significant steps forward in the months and years ahead. The Mid Currituck Bridge is a project and it is funded in the North Carolina 2016-25 State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP).
This new access point to the Outer Banks will reduce travel times and ease traffic congestion. It will give first responders quicker, more direct access to residents of Carova and Corolla and speed evacuation during an emergency.
The Mid-Currituck Bridge will also act as a development catalyst on the mainland. The Coinjock/Barco/Maple area side of the bridge will become an ideal spot for restaurants, retail shops, attractions and lodging.
But when it comes to economic development, Mid-Currituck hasn’t been waiting on the bridge to get started. Head west on 158 from Barco and you’ll find a remarkable hub of pro-business activity.
The Maple Commerce Park features shovel-ready lots with flexible acreage configurations (2 acres and up), and is designed to attract a variety of businesses.
Maple Commerce Park is adjacent to the Currituck County Regional Airport and the College of the Albemarle’s Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center, a 40,000 SF facility focusing on FAA-certified programs and mechanical training for a wide range of industrial workforce needs. Nearby there are also walking trails, a YMCA community center, a 3-field baseball/softball complex and even more premier recreation facilities.
And coming soon is College of the Albemarle’s new Public Safety Center, which will be a collaboration between COA and Currituck County.
On the Currituck Outer Banks, the focus has been directly related to meeting the needs of a growing community while preserving the physical and natural environments that make it distinct from other coastal communities.
The community worked closely with the Planning and Community Development Department to create the Corolla Village Small Area Plan, the Corolla Village Circulation and Wayfinding Plan and most recently, the Connecting Corolla Bike, Pedestrian, Access & Wayfinding Plan.
Their efforts have improved the overall experience for visitors, but have also helped craft a stronger sense of community for those who call Corolla home all year long.
Recently completed multi-use paths provide residents and visitors better access to shopping, dining and destinations. Continued improvements to beach accesses adding fully compliant ADA accessible restroom and shower facilities together with additional parking and handicap access to the oceanfront ensures a premium experience for those who live, work, visit and vacation in Corolla.
In terms of economic development, the work that is going into projects such as the 4.5 miles of the Corolla Greenway and the Corolla Beautification Landscaping/Streetscape Plan directly impact our county’s bottom line.
Lower Currituck is getting ready for its renaissance.
In the past, visitors headed to the Outer Banks might have made the long summer drive, reached their final destination and stayed put. But thanks to the H2OBX Waterpark, Lower Currituck is poised to become a destination in its own right.
Last year’s opening of H2OBX signalled the start of a new era for Lower Currituck. It gives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year a compelling reason to travel back and forth from the beaches to the mainland. That increase in visitor traffic from the beaches, across the bridge and three miles up Highway 158 has the potential to transform the landscape of Lower Currituck forever.
Providing visitors a can’t-miss activity on the mainland will dramatically shift the dynamics and flow for Lower Currituck. In the years ahead, it will help Route 158 become less of a pass-through and more of a main drag. There’s already a buzz building about bringing new business to the area.
Currituck County Travel & Tourism director Tameron Kugler believes that the waterpark could attract hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses. It could also give a boost to two nearby golf clubs: Kilmarlic and The Pointe.
“We think it will be a great boon for the county,” Kugler said. “Getting people back over the bridge is a big thing.”
Economic development is a team sport. It’s a group effort that requires communication, collaboration and vision.
There are big projects coming to every part of Currituck County and each new development has the potential to change our county for the better. Nobody can predict the future, but if we work together… anything is possible.