Halifax, Northampton Counties Hope To Land New Business With New Airport
Posted July 9, 2004 6:44 a.m. EDT
HALIFAX COUNTY, N.C. — A major project designed to beef up the economy in northeastern North Carolina is officially under way.
The Roanoke Valley area broke ground Friday on a new regional airport. The 1½ mile runway will help land planes and possibly new business for Halifax and Northampton counties.
"What I see really is the gold mine for Halifax. We're tier one now, but this airport will change that in three or four years," said Sen. Robert Holloman, D-Halifax County.
The growth in the Roanoke Rapids area is already under way. Stores, like a shipping operation, are offering custom services not found within 40 miles.
News of the area's growth is going well beyond that reach thanks to a recent
article dubbing the region as "micropolitan."
"That consensus is if we are going to do it, we've got to do it together," said Mike Scott of The UPS Store. "There's a lot of publicity we're getting these days. We're just proud to be here. Maybe our timing was right."
Interstate 95 is the ground traffic corridor.
"This area is blessed to have the type of exposure to Interstate 95 that other communities up and down this highway don't have," Scott said.
The new airport, which is expected to take one to three years to complete, will serve as another arm of economic development.
"This will also attract many companies that will not come to our county if they don't have a local airport for CEOs to fly into," Holloman said.
Empty textile mills in Roanoke Rapids serve as hard lessons of the past. The micropolitan region of Halifax and Northampton counties seem determined not to see history repeat itself.
Construction of the new airport in southern Halifax County is expected to begin in August.