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In The News, July 31, 2017

Harrington Village project in Leland progresses

The foundations are in for a project Leland town officials are hoping will transform the Village Road corridor. Site work for the Harrington Village project on Village Road has progressed to the point that building construction can begin, said Gary Vidmar, the town’s economic development director. At the site’s location on the corner of Baldwin Drive and Village Road, lumber is piled high, waiting to be turned into framework for multiple buildings planned for the project. Framing work for a few buildings has already begun. “There’s construction going on every day, particularly out front,” Vidmar said.

Kings Mountain aims to help downtown plans work

“I am so proud that Kings Mountain is continuing to grow and develop its downtown,” said Kings Mountain Main Street Director Jan Harris, which straddles the border between western Gaston and eastern Cleveland counties and was recently recognized by the N.C. Department of Commerce for the on-going success of its Main Street program. “The city,” she added, “is truly invested in this effort to attract new businesses and to help existing businesses prosper.” Attracting new businesses in today’s economic climate means Kings Mountain must be open to increased diversity, both in the type of businesses coming to the downtown and in the ownership of those businesses. “If we are to succeed, we have to be an open, inclusive, and welcoming city and downtown.”

Significant improvements for Kinston

Kinston has seen big changes in the past five years with focus on growth, innovative attractions, and a safer community. Local leaders applaud the efforts and look forward to the challenges that remain. Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy said a major accomplishment in Kinston over the past five years was bringing professional baseball back to town after a five-year absence and signing a 12-year-lease between Grainger Stadium and the Texas Rangers. Baseball in Kinston is a huge attraction for people all over the region, he said. The thing that doesn’t get talked about as much as Grainger Stadium and the Wood Ducks is that Kinston reduced its average retail electric rates by 10 percent that was made possible through the sale of ElectriCities’ coal and nuclear power plants, Murphy said. “That is significant savings for our small businesses, our large manufactures, our residential areas,” he said. “For many years that has been the No. 1 issue on people’s minds — our electric rates. Now granted we still have some work to do. But we’re more comparable to Duke Progress Energy rates today than we have been in almost three decades.”

$160K to aid Gibsonville downtown

Gibsonville will receive a $160,000 downtown revitalization grant from the state, Mayor Lenny Williams said. The money was part of the state budget recently signed by Gov. Roy Cooper. Williams said that when Sen. Trudy Wade attended the groundbreaking for the town’s community center, he told her that the town needed money to improve its library and downtown. He credits Wade and Rep. Jon Hardister for securing the money. “This is the first time that the town of Gibsonville has received a grant during 24 years that I have been on the board,” Williams said. “This may well be the first grant of this kind ever received by the town of Gibsonville. We will make sure that the money is used wisely.”