Local News

Honda to Play an Important Part in Tarboro Economy

Posted June 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A much needed economic boost is in the works for Edgecombe County. An auto parts manufacturer is opening up shop in the town of Tarboro. Carolina System Technology announced its plans Wednesday. The plant will employ 160 people to start, and as many as 500 within a couple of years.

It's a great boost for a county that's always near the top of the unemployment list. Governor Hunt is pleased with the good news. He says it's always nice to have a new company put down roots in North Carolina and make great plans for the future. It may take a little while, but eastern North Carolina is in for its fair share.

It's a farmer's field right now. But by next planting season, a tract of land in Tarboro will be a $25 million dollar parts plant. Area residents believe the field holds a lot of economic hope.

A new automotive parts plant may not sound like a big deal, but in Tarboro it's headline news. Jobs have been gradually flowing out of the Edgecombe County town for years. The key to bringing them back-- high tech Honda electronic parts all produced by a Japanese company that will call the local operation Carolina System Technology.

Edgecombe Community College President, Hartwell Fuller calls the news the best the area has had in several years. In the past few years, over 1,800 jobs have been lost, putting unemployment levels in the county at one of the highest levels in the state. News of the new plant is just what the area needs.

The $25 million dollar plant will sprout out of a farm field near Edgecombe Community College. The connection won't end there. Skilled workers will be trained at the college. The school and the economic boom will be working together. Local leaders hope for other positive spin offs.

Corinne Pierog believes economic development in Edgecombe County has been a long time coming. The Chamber of Commerce official says there could be even more good news just around the corner. She won't speculate what that it. However, Pierog will say Carolina System Technology is just a sign of good things to come.

A couple of hotels are going up at the interchange of Highway 64 north of Tarboro. A lot of big things are happening. And the hope is that the area will become a large industrial park. The next big day in Tarboro is July 11th, when the city will hold a groundbreaking for the new plant.

Wednesday's announcement breaks a long streak of bad business news in Edgecombe County. About a year and a half ago, Nebraska based IBP's bid to build a hog processing plant was rejected for environmental reasons. Two-thousand jobs left town with the decision.

Just months before the IBP battle, Black and Decker shut down its tool manufacturing plant as a consolidation move with the plant in Fayetteville. More than a thousand people were put on the unemployment list when Black and Decker locked its doors.