ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. — A recent
article claims that Roanoke Rapids, a town once built on textiles, is ready for potential development.
The U.S. Census no longer lists Roanoke Rapids as a small town with a population of 17,000. With a regional approach combining two counties, Roanoke Rapids' new classification is micropolitan -- a term used to describe rural areas that create economic hubs.
"This gives us a good shot in the arm for other companies that could take a look at us. They say, 'Hey, you know that might be a good place to locate a small factory or big factory,'" Roanoke Rapids Mayor D.N. Beale said.
Officials said the new approach lets Roanoke Rapids count the Lowe's distribution center in neighborhoring Northampton County as part of its micropolitan region as well as smaller businesses that pop up around Roanoke Rapids.
Even those outside Roanoke Rapids are starting to notice the growth.
"I've been told some people in the business community already have had contacts from people outside the area about buying property and renting spaces," said RBC senior marketing officer Ed Garris said.
Officials said the Roanoke Rapids area now only draws workers from neighboring counties but shoppers as well.