EDC discusses support for SPACE festival
BAKERSVILLE – The Mitchell County Economic Development Commission Board of Directors at its regular meeting Friday, April 26, received a report from EDC Director Mickey Duvall and unanimously approved a decision to not financially sponsor the Spruce Pine Alien Conference and Expo, or SPACE.
Duvall reminded the board the EDC Facebook page continues to grow and is routinely updated with relevant information, including copies of his monthly report.
The Mitchell County EDC business and industry appreciation event is planned for early November.
“You will not want to miss the slate of speakers and entertainment being planned for this event,” he said.
Details about the entertainment and speakers as well as a finalized date will be announced soon.
Duvall said he is satisfied with the recent growth of business in downtown Spruce Pine. The former Knife and Fork building has been leased and will soon operate as Capone’s Italian Bar and Grill, and the former Uptown Funk building will soon have a new occupant in the form of Keen Outdoors, a hunting, fishing and outdoor apparel shop.
“We also have had some interest in other buildings in Spruce Pine,” Duvall said. “We want to keep confidentiality agreements in place until an occupancy announcement can be made.”
Duvall said the EDC is working with two hotel developers concerning potential projects in Mitchell County. The EDC hosted one developer this past March and another in late April.
“Both hotel developers are looking at properties for a project in Spruce Pine,” Duvall said. “They have requested the EDC conduct a hotel feasibility study.”
Board Chair Richard Canipe introduced the idea of a $2,500 EDC sponsorship of the SPACE festival after being asked by Mitchell County Commissioner Jeff Harding to discuss it with his board,
“I have concerns about using taxpayer money on an event sponsored by an individual for profit,” Canipe said.
The rest of the board echoed Canipe’s concerns, and board treasurer Robert Heffron said sponsoring one individual’s event would set a precedent.
EDC Board Member and Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Patti Jensen said the EDC should do anything possible to promote the event outside of monetary sponsorships.
The board unanimously approved the decision not to go forward with the sponsorship following a motion from EDC board member and Mayland Community College President Dr. John Boyd.
“I think we need to support it in all the ways that we can,” Jensen said. “But financially, it makes it hard.”