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CoastLine: Economic Development Strategy in the Cape Fear

Wilmington Downtown Inc.
Wilmington Riverfront

This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on April 29, 2015. 

There’s good economic news today: unemployment is down slightly, and Wilmington has earned another accolade:  a San Francisco-based financial planning website named it the second-best city in the nation to start a business.

The development of the Cape Fear region – which includes Pender and Brunswick Counties – is all about coordinated strategy.

New Hanover County is expected to include an additional $12 million in its draft budget for the next fiscal year. That money will pay for the extension of water and sewer up the U.S. 421 corridor in an unincorporated part of the County. 

Building infrastructure there is widely seen as the key to attracting more business to the area. The observation about the corridor's development potential -- with water and sewer -- emerged as one of the critical pieces to the local development puzzle after the county commissioned an economic growth analysis in 2013.

But there are often conceptual places where the business community and local governments diverge; there are also initiatives that grow through public-private partnerships – official and otherwise.

In this edition of CoastLine, we explore how far local leaders have taken the recommendations from that 2013 economic development report called Pathways to Prosperity: New Hanover County’s Plan for Jobs and Investment – popularly known as The Garner Report – after Jay Garner – the consultant who produced it.

In-studio guests:

Jonathan Barfield is Chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

Chris Coudriet is New Hanover County's Manager.

Connie Majure-Rhett is the President and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

Brett Martin is the Founder and CEO of Castle Branch, an employment screening company, which owns and operates its own start-up incubator, tekMountain.  

Listen to the first segment, featuring Jonathan Barfield, Connie Majure-Rhett, and Brett Martin, here.
Listen to Segment Two featuring Connie Majure-Rhett and Brett Martin.
Listen to Segment 3 here featuring Chris Coudriet, Connie Majure-Rhett, and Brett Martin.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.