Development Commission will market Summit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
A proposal from the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission to take over marketing Summit Corporate Center drew approval and praise Monday night.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the plan and told the agency to go forward.
Robert Van Geons, executive director of the agency, outlined a plan to put the county-owned park at Julian Road and Interstate 85 on the front burner of regional site consultants and commercial real estate brokers.
The park, now more than a decade old, has more than 500 acres and remains largely vacant.
While the plan will use a new Web site and several electronic means, it will rely heavily on personal contact with site consultants, brokers, N.C. Department of Commerce officials and other key players.
Van Geons admitted the park has had less than spectacular success.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” he added. “It’s an excellent park. We’re going to get it in front of the right people.”
He outlined a plan for a two-year marketing campaign that will cost about $60,000. The Economic Development Commission will use existing funds, including money in the agency’s fund balance.
He pledged to give commissioners updates on the marketing campaign.
Commissioners also agreed to work on setting revised prices for the various parcels.
Responding to a question from Commissioner Tina Hall, Van Geons said nearly 200 acres in Phase 1 of the park is now a certified site through the N.C. Department of Commerce program.
Vice Chairman Chad Mitchell joined in praising the plan, noting the Economic Development Commission had chosen a reasonable, positive program, instead of recommending shell buildings or expensive grading.
Responding to a question from Commissioner Jon Barber, Van Geons said he has shown the property a couple of times since becoming executive director in January.
In prior years, the Development Commission was reluctant to market the county park, citing potential conflict with privately owned business parks.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
– Unanimously approved an ordinance banning registered sex offenders from county parks, libraries and the fairgrounds.
No one spoke against the ordinance, which has been under development for several months. It’s patterned after an ordinance adopted by the town of Woodfin and upheld by the N.C. Court of Appeals.
Officials said there are currently 188 registered sex offenders living in Rowan County.
Through mutual aid agreements, Salisbury, China Grove and Rockwell police will have enforcement authority along with the Sheriff’s Office.
– Agreed to set a public hearing at the April 21 meeting on a proposed text amendment to allow wine tasting rooms as a permitted use in the rural agricultural zoning district. Two local vineyards, which want to open wineries, asked for the change.

Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette@ salisburypost.com.

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