Local News

Cumberland County Leaders Team Up With UNC To Launch Economic Initiative

Posted December 4, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Cumberland County business and community leaders want you to stand up and take notice. They are ready for more economic development to take place in their county, and they have a plan to let everyone know about it.

Developer Murray Duggins has lived in Fayetteville his whole life. He would love for his children to continue his business, but he is worried about what the city and county could offer them.

"Unless we grow this economy, longtime family businesses in Cumberland County are not going to survive. We'll see a flight of our youth," he says.

Many residents agree the region is at an economic crossroads. They say Fayetteville and Cumberland County have fallen behind the economic prosperity of other urban areas in the state. Private and public business leaders now hope to get it back on track with what they are calling "Greater Fayetteville Futures."

The private sector has chipped in $80,000 to bring inUNC's Office of Economic Developmentto help attract more high paying jobs to the industrial park and more high-tech jobs like the ones found downtown at the computer company AIT.

"We hope by being an objective outsider, we can facilitate a process of agreeing on what the facts seem to show, projecting that forward and saying if nothing changes now, this is what it will look like five to 10 years from now," says Leslie Stewart of UNC's Office of Economic Development.

Residents came out Tuesday about the new plan. Leaders hope the plan will allow everyone to share a common vision.

"We have many opportunities, many positives, if we can leverage those and agree together what we want Fayetteville and Cumberland County to be together in the future, we think this process will help us reach that," says Tom Chavonne of the Fayetteville Observer.

Working with UNC, Greater Fayetteville Futures will provide best case examples from others parts of the state and country. The hope is the community can learn from them and remain the fourth largest metro area in the state by providing more than just low-paying jobs in the service industry.