County’s ‘Project Rosebud’ approved

BAKERSVILLE – The Mitchell County Economic Development Commission Board of Directors met this past Friday and received an update on Mayland Community College’s power grant, received a workforce development program update from Mitchell County Chamber Executive Director Patti Jensen, received a department update from EDC Director Mickey Duvall and unanimously approved the appointment of Van Phillips and Rebecca Carter as voting members on the board.

During his update, Duvall said Project Rosebud was approved. The project, which involves a $112,000 North Carolina Department of Commerce Building Reuse Grant, will help Bombardier Recreational Products renovate an 85,000-square-foot building in Spruce Pine, where the company produces boat engine parts. The project will create 10 jobs and attract nearly $5 million in private investment.

Duvall said he is optimistic about the power grant. He added during discussions with Congressman Mark Meadows during his recent visit to Washington D.C., Meadows said he would do his part to fight for Mayland’s chances of getting the grant. 

Mayland President John Boyd said news about the grant might come in August. 

“John is on top of it as well as anyone could be,” Duvall said. “I feel like we’ll certainly make something out of it.”

Jensen said she is going around the county talking to businesses and industry leaders to gauge their interest in a workforce development program similar to Burke County’s Work in Burke, which connects students and young workers with opportunities that match their skills. 

“So far, everyone has been excited and supportive of it,” Jensen said. “We’re getting there.”

Jensen said she has been working on the grant that would fund the program. 

Board Chair Keith Holtsclaw said he is optimistic about such a program’s chances of bringing youth into local skilled labor. 

“The businesses and industry truly have to be partners in all of this,” he said. “Finding trade-type workers around here is tough.”

Duvall said he recently showed the Mitchell County Henredon site to domestic clients in the solar panel, photovoltaics and data center businesses. The site has been shown three times since May 25. 

“I received very positive feedback from each client showing,” Duvall said. “We are now working with each of these clients to possibly establish another major industry in Mitchell County at the site.”

Duvall said he and Spruce Pine Main Street Executive Director Libby Phillips showed the downtown building that used to house Tokyo Restaurant and the McCall’s building, the latter of which was recently acquired by the town of Spruce Pine, to a potential a buyer earlier this month. 

Duvall said the buyer is looking to expand a restaurant currently operating in Burnsville. 

“I am now working with this particular client regarding a business plan and financial package for potentially expanding their operations,” Duvall said. “If you are aware of a business wanting to relocate to Mitchell County, please let me know and I will follow up.”

The board unanimously approved the addition of Phillips as a new member and unanimously approved a decision to renew Carter’s contract for a second term. 

The addition of Phillips and Carter must now be approved by the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners. The item will be on the agenda in July.

The MItchell News

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