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Originally published: 2014-01-09 19:11:04
Last modified: 2014-01-09 19:11:04

Draft plan for business park

by Allison Haver

In a bid to consider a new business park,  the Watauga County Economic Development Commission met Thursday  to consider a conceptual draft plan.

"Our business park is full and has been full for some time now," John Spear, an EDC staff member, said.

This draft conceptual plan is a result of recommendations from the EDC's Five Year Targeted Marketing Plan and 2012 Economic Development Summit, in which the EDC accentuated the need for "client-ready" manufacturing space in Watauga County.

One concern for many members of the EDC was that they could not offer any "product" or land for potential organizations and businesses. According to Economic Development Director Joe Furman, 66 percent of industries looking to relocate preferred space with existing buildings.

Land for the potential business park has not yet been purchased. The commission earlier this year recommended the purchase of a 200-acre tract on N.C. 194 for a business park, but the Watauga County Board of Commissioners ultimately decided not to purchase the property.

On Thursday, the EDC in the end decided to wait until more information was gathered and could be included in the conceptual draft plan, including  information such as examples of successful business parks in North Carolina and an overview of the Watauga County lifestyle.

Furman said that an estimate of the current business park's economic impact is under way and could be included in the conceptual draft plan.

The commission meets at the Appalachian Enterprise Center conference room in Boone and is currently considering a new meeting time. For more information, call (828) 265-8043.