Mary Katherine Murphy
An economic stakeholders’ meeting spearheaded today by Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker is expected to bring organizations and agencies together to streamline efforts to bring industry to Scotland County.
Representatives from the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, Employment Security Commission, Scotland County Economic Development Corporation and Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation have been invited, as well as representatives of local educational institutions, local legislators and major employers in the county.
“Different entities have different roles, and we’re trying to make sure that everyone understands what those roles are,” said Greg Icard, Scotland County’s economic development director. “It’s always a good thing for people to sort of work together - everyone has different roles and parts that they play in the community.”
Following a model that has worked for other North Carolina cities, Parker said he wanted to bring together diverse interests from across the county.
“The purpose of this meeting is for the interested stakeholders to brainstorm and come up with ways that we can entice people to locate here so that we’re all working together for everybody’s benefit,” Parker said. “This will be the first meeting - there is no blueprint for what we’re trying to do, all of that will come from within.”
The meeting will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. this morning in the Laurinburg City Council chambers. County Manager Kevin Patterson, City Manager Ed Burchins and Scotland County Commissioner Bob Davis have also been invited.
Invitees have been selected based upon their level of involvement, direct or indirect, in the overall scheme of economic development in Laurinburg and Scotland County.
“It’s somewhat inspired from economic development,” said Parker. “Who would be the people who would help you recruit an industry and who are the major stakeholders in the community? It’s the major employers in the county and the major economic operators, so to speak.”
Parker said that one of the meeting’s goals is to formalize the process for recruiting certain types of businesses and industries to the area, and ensuring that entities like the Chamber of Commerce and the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation are handling the candidates that they are best equipped to serve.
“Everybody should understand whose role it is to do what when we get a certain candidate so that we maximize our potential,” Parker said. “We can paint our own picture the way we want it. It’s kind of an all for one and one for all type of deal - we’re all in this together.”