Local News

Nonprofit Group Aims To Increase Economic Growth Down East

Posted October 25, 2002 11:05 a.m. EDT

— Many counties east of Interstate 95 have not kept up with the economic growth of the Triangle. A group of business leaders wants to change that.

"Nine of the poorest counties in the United States of America are in that blue region on the map," said Kel Landis, co-chair of the

Foundation of Renewal for Eastern North Carolina

The nonprofit hopes to reverse the trend of vanishing jobs.

Not so long ago, a man or woman in eastern N.C. could spend their entire career working in a manufacturing facility. Now, instead of "Help Wanted" signs, "For Sale" signs dot the landscape.

The group's goal is to market the region and help a diverse group of communities work together to attract new, more dependable jobs.

"We also want to brand eastern North Carolina within and without to all people outside eastern North Carolina to understand the region a little bit better as one of opportunity and promise," said Phillip Horne, FoR ENC executive vice president.

FoR ENC is made up entirely of business leaders, working entirely with private money. That means no tax money will be used, unlike the Global TransPark, where millions of dollars have been invested with little return so far.

"Business people are used to getting things done, not dealing with a bunch of bureaucratic stuff, and I just think this is the natural group. They have the reason to want to see it done. They do business here," said Phil Carlton, FoR ENC co-chair.

There is progress being made in the eastern part of the state; however, this group of professionals believes it could be a lot better.