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Our View: Economic future remains bright

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Rocky Mount Telegram

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Reports that CSX is considering scrapping plans to build its more than $270-million Carolina Connector intermodal terminal in Rocky Mount certainly sent shock waves throughout the community.

The announcement of the project was viewed as a potential game-changer for the economic fortunes of the Twin Counties and Eastern North Carolina. And while it certainly comes as a blow that the project currently appears to be on  hold, the Twin Counties certainly has no lack of good news on the economic development front.

Redevelopment projects in downtown Rocky Mount and at the Rocky Mount Mills continue to progress at a steady rate. Another new business has opened in the Mill Village, and a new owner has plans to transform the former Carleton House into an upscale destination hotel.

City officials are quick to tout the $4.25 million in investment that has occurred downtown in a 60-day span, and they credit the Event Center project with spurring that economic activity. Local and outside investors have been buying up downtown properties at a record pace, with more businesses either opening their doors or planning to in the next year or so.

As staff writer Corey Davis has reported, despite the news that the CSX hub may not be built, economists remain optimistic about the area’s future economic fortunes. The conditions that lured CSX into locating its terminal hub here also have attracted other businesses to the area and will continue to do so.

The Kingsboro Megasite in Edgecombe County is rumored to be one of the top sites in the running for a new Toyota-Mazada auto plant, a $1.6 billion investment that could create up to 4,000 jobs. And local business recruiters and government officials continue to focus on attracting other businesses to the area.

It is certainly to be hoped that the Carolina Connector is eventually built in Rocky Mount. But whether or not it is, the future does indeed look brighter than it has for a long time for the Twin Counties.

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