Darts and Laurels: Announcement proves businesses still want to grow here

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Laurel to the news that Continental Structural Plastics is planning to add dozens of jobs here, invest tens of millions of dollars and add 50,000 square feet to its facility on Statesville Boulevard.

Even as the economy continues to suffer, there are silver linings to the cloudy state of things, with last week being the most recent example. Based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Continental Structural Plastics supplies automotive and heavy truck components.

At an Aug. 3 meeting, Rowan County commissioners approved tax incentives for the project, which had been given the nickname “Project Sun.” At the time, a tax incentive proposal, which was approved, said average pay for the new positions would be $44,000 — good-paying jobs that local officials hope for when recruiting new businesses. Most of the jobs would be “production operators,” but others would include maintenance technicians, supervisors and support staff.

The jobs announcement started Rowan County on a good path just days after the Economic Development Commission said it wants to add 2,500 jobs to the local economy by 2024 as part of its Forward Rowan initiative. And the announcement proves people are still looking at Rowan County as a location to build or expand during a pandemic.

Public-sector leaders may need to make more tough decisions about expenditures if the community, state and nation continuing failing to contain the spread of COVID-19. But they also must continue to prioritize funding for economic development and, consequently, doing their part to improve the local economy. The Rowan County Economic Development Commission has proven the pitch for moving to Rowan County is attractive, even during a global pandemic.

The news that Salisbury’s Deputy Police Chief Shon Barnes is headed to Chicago for a new job gets both a dart and a laurel.

It’s sad news for the community that Barnes, who has brought innovative policing practices to the department, is headed elsewhere. But his work here put the Salisbury Police Department and the city in a better place. Proof of that lies in the fact that 2019 saw a 20-year low in crime. There are many officers, organizations and community members who get credit for that achievement, but Barnes was a critical part of that work.

We’re hopeful that, just as Police Chief Jerry Stokes connected with Barnes and brought him to Salisbury, he can find another qualified person to fill the deputy chief position.