The Transylvania Times -

By Mark Todd
Staff Writer 

Economic Development Effort Supported


Officials from Transylvania County, the City of Brevard, the town of Rosman and the county Board of Education are looking to join forces to promote economic development in the community.

Their common cause is to encourage growth of existing businesses and investment of new businesses in the community.

The county has seen its economy struggle since 2002 when Ecusta, DuPont and Coates America closed their doors and since 2007 when the national economy headed into a deep recession.

Unemployment and underemployment and an exodus of young families from the county have been a continued theme.

At the Monday night meeting of the county commission, commissioners listened to a presentation on a series of recent meetings involving all interested parties.

The board threw its unanimous support and a commitment of $10,000 in seed money to the new initiative.

In addition to local elected officials, the county school system, local colleges, business leaders, the chamber of commerce, and others are invited to join the cause.

The process was outlined in part by Mary Lynn Manley, the 2012 president of the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce.

Mike Hawkins, commission chairman, said the potential of this initiative is promising, even though he’s not sure a financial contribution is needed just yet.

“The final look of this process has not been determined,” Hawkins said. “If we do it right, this has the potential to transform the county.”

Area agencies such as Advantage West, the Land of Sky Regional Council, and others can be tapped for assistance, Commissioner Jason Chappell said.

Commissioner Larry Chapman said he also is enthusiastic about the proposed collaboration, but he offered a cautionary comment.

“My fear is that we could let this become just another program,” he said. “We need to set goals, we need to communicate with our citizens, and we have to be accountable and set benchmarks.”


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