The members of the Anson Economic Development Corporation spent their monthly meeting discussing a number of ways Anson can improve its economy.
AEDC member Don Altieri reported that he had recently met with Tammy Whaley of Duke Energy to discuss how Duke Power’s programs could possibly benefit the county. “Anson County has a lot of potential and we need to position ourselves with new projects,” Altieri said.
He said some of Whaley’s specific recommendations included better marketing of the AEDC’s 100-acre site for sale, building a relationship with the N.C. Department of Commerce, seeking partnerships with regional organizations and more available brochures.
Altieri said that the AEDC needs to be more proactive. Right now, economic development director Mary Beck is doing a great job, he said, but stays busy with reactive projects, like responding to inquiries rather than seeking them out.
Whaley had also suggested that the AEDC have someone from Cleveland County speak to the group, but Fred Sparger pointed out it might be better to find another Tier 1 county like Anson that has had some success in economic development.
County Manager Lawrence Gatewood gave the group an update on various projects, including the new emergency services center, which is scheduled to open early next year.
He also reported that plans are moving forward for a new animal shelter. Although the shelter is desperately needed, Gatewood pointed out that it is not in the county’s budget, nor was it in any of the county’s long-term plans.
To help defray some of the costs, the county is starting a Friends of the Animal Shelter group, which will hold an organizational meeting Dec. 10.
The county’s Board of Elections will also have a new home in the coming year. Gatewood said the Board of Elections will move into a former doctor’s office building next to Anson Community Hospital on Morven Road, and the building should be ready to host early voting in May 2014.
“Speaking of the hospital,” Gatewood said, “the main hospital is set to be demolished. The two old red brick buildings next to it are still a question mark.” He added that according to Carolinas HealthCare System, the two buildings are not structurally sound.
“There’s some historical value there,” Sparger said. “I would like to see them saved.” Realtor Don Scarborough agreed, but added he wasn’t sure the buildings could be saved. “I would like to see them renovated and I would like to see a private investor do it,” he said.
In other business, Tourism Development Authority director Lynn Horton said that her group has set a hotel as a critical goal for growing tourism. “I think there’s going to have to be an incentive in order to bring a hotel here,” she said, and asked for help in brainstorming ideas.
Realtor Carroll Anderson stated that she’s concerned about the level of litter within the county, a point echoed by Hugh Wallace. He said he recently witness two young women in the Food Lion parking lot who put their fast food drinks and bags of food outside their vehicle and drove off. “People have no consideration,” he said. Chamber of Commerce executive director Lynn Edwards said she would look into starting an Adopt-A-Highway program in Anson to help combat the litter problem.
Before the AEDC went into closed session, Thomas Cureton handed out literature on the Farm Fresh Ventures program, which is a subscription service that allows locally grown produce to be delivered 18 weeks of the year. “Support local farmers and support the local economy by considering giving a subscription as a Christmas gift,” he said. For more information, call Cureton at 704-694-2415 or visit farmfreshventures.com.