New Hanover County and Wilmington officials say the lack of or outdated infrastructure is a barrier to business. To attract industry, board members are prioritizing infrastructure improvements.
Out of 21 recommendations made by the county-funded Garner Economic Development Report, city and county board members chose six top priorities, including Rebuilding New Hanover County. To encourage industry to migrate to the 421 Corridor and northern New Hanover County, the commissioners agree that water and sewage services must be extended north. City Councilwoman Margaret Haynes says the difficulty is funding, and that it isn’t enough to merely fund this project. She says regional leaders need to start planning for future needs as well:
"That’s the project before us now. In three years, we may have something else. In five years, we may have something else. Instead of piecemealing it, I think the idea coming out of the report is that we create some mechanism where we will be garnering some money—no pun intended. But we’d be gathering some money to move forward and fund these projects as they come along."
To support the goal of boosting infrastructure, the city and county will be working together to develop sustainable funding sources for such growth.