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New county leadership discusses plans

Rowan County needs a vision and strong partnerships in order to be successful, according to the new members of the county’s Board of Commissioners.

Their message is simple: Rowan County needs to get better, and it can get better.

Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds, along with Vice Chairman Jim Greene, Commissioner Judy Klusman and County Manager Aaron Church, spoke during the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast meeting at Trinity Oaks on Thursday.

“It’s a new day in Rowan County,” Edds said to applause.

He said the county’s economy needs to grow, and that it’s not going to do it by itself.

“We’ve got to create a vision for economic growth and prosperity here in Rowan County,” he said.

Edds said he’s been working with the county’s economic development point man, Robert Van Geons, to develop a new strategy for industrial recruitment focused on distribution centers, global logistics facilities, supply-chain management, food processing and advanced manufacturing.

Church, who joined the county in October,  said the county needs to develop a brand that can be advertised and used as a recruiting tool. He showed examples of logos used by other counties around the country and said a logo for Rowan County will be designed.

The logo could be the first thing a business executive sees when doing an online search for Rowan —  so it has to stick and leave a lasting impression, Church said.

He said the strategic plan for branding the county will include a vision, logo, slogan and the use of social media.

Klusman focused on partnerships and health. “We need to work together, because if we don’t we will all fail,” she said.

“We want this county to flourish. We want this county to come together, the people, and work together,” she said.

The community’s health is directly related to economic development, she said, emphasizing the importance of a healthy home environment.

“If we have healthier people here, we don’t lose as many days on the job. … And that means more dollars are freed up for other investments in the company.”

Klusman said a big part of her work as a commissioner will be building public and private relationships and advocating for a healthier Rowan County.

Edds said the Board of Commissioners plans to put together an economic advisory team, people who will scout the economy and bring information to county leaders about what direction to take.

“What’s the next big thing” economically, Edds said, “We need to know that so we can get ahead of it.”

He said the team would be complimentary to the work done by Van Geons and RowanWorks.

Building, and rebuilding, relationships with municipal governments in the county is another priority for the new county board, Edds said.

Regarding the county’s relationship with the city of Salisbury, Greene said, “We want a strong county seat. We don’t want to do anything to weaken that.”

Greene also talked about having a long-range view on problems. He said the can as been kicked down the road for too long.

“There hasn’t been a lot of long-term solutions,” he said about issues facing the county.

Speaking about education, Greene said, “We’re going to support our schools. There’s no reason not to support our public schools, period.” Those gathered responded with applause.

He said the commissioners will need the community’s support to make change happen.

Contact Reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264.

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