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EDC wants fairgrounds considered as potential industrial site

By Mark Wineka

Salisbury Post

The Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission will encourage county officials to consider the Rowan County Fairgrounds off Julian Road as a potential industrial site.

Meeting Wednesday for their annual retreat, EDC officials discussed how the county-owned fairgrounds could tie in with the Summit Corporate Center and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

The county-owned Summit Corporate Center lies on the opposite side of Julian Road, and RCCC’s Salisbury campus lies north of the fairgrounds.

EDC member Bill Wagoner has long argued that the fairgrounds site could be important to the industrial park’s future.

“If we don’t move soon,” Wagoner said, “we could lose the Summit Corporate Center’s environment.”

He said the county should move from the talking stage to the acting stage on the fairgrounds property.

The fairgrounds lease is up this year, and discussions have taken place in the past about moving the Rowan County Fair to another location.

EDC member Raymond Coltrain said a committee looked at the fairgrounds’ future three years ago, and its conclusion was that the fair should move from its current site.

Rowan County Commissioner Tina Hall, liaison to the EDC, encouraged the EDC members to write a letter to the county as soon as possible so the fairgrounds’ future could be discussed at the commissioners’ retreat.

Rowan County Commissioner Jon Barber, who also attended the EDC retreat, said he would support the EDC’s position.

In another discussion, EDC members said a major drawback to further industrial development along U.S. 70 could be the lack of sewer

It’s the “hole in the doughnut” of a U.S. 70 corridor strategy,” EDC member Jack Owens said.

EDC members generally agreed that the U.S. 70 corridor between Salisbury and Statesville has as much potential for the county’s industrial future as the Interstate 85 corridor.

Department of Transportation contractors are currently widening U.S. 70 to four lanes with a median.

The EDC members concluded that they should advocate for the development of sewer along U.S. 70 and maybe initiate discussions with Salisbury-Rowan Utilities.

Also at the retreat, Randy Harrell, executive director of the EDC, outlined his staff’s plan of work for 2007.

During the year, Harrell plans trips to California; Germany and France; Chicago; Toronto, Canada; New York City; the Wachovia Cup Championship in Charlotte; and Orlando, Fla.

He will be calling on site selection consultants in Toronto, California, New York and Chicago.

He will be attending the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando and giving his annual presentation to the N.C. Department of Commerce in November.

Harrell also will be looking to attend a biotechnology trade show.

EDC Project Manager Stuart Hair will be calling personally on at least seven existing companies a month in Rowan County. He also will be attending the Nextel Cup All-Star Race May 19, where existing Rowan companies are invited to visit the Charlotte Regional Partnership’s suite at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

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