RANDOLPH COUNTY — Commissioners in Randolph County were provided updates earlier this month on the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, with a renewed sense of hope emerging for a potential anchor tenant.
Randolph County Economic Development Corp. President Kevin Franklin recently suggested to commissioners that eventual relocation of an industrial giant to the Piedmont was imminent and that the county would be well-served in upgrading infrastructure.
“We’re convinced, based upon just what’s happening with the economy at large, that we will land a project here,” Franklin said. “Whether it be sooner or later, obviously I’m not in the position to say. But at some point, we’re going to land a big user up here. Right now, we don’t have any substantial infrastructure in that entire area that would be able to support perhaps additional supplier opportunities, as well as the commercial and retail that you hope would accompany a facility that brings multiple thousands of jobs.”
Randolph County officials have long advocated for the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite near Liberty to become the preeminent economic driver in the Piedmont. Unification of resources and recruiting manufacturers to the site could benefit more than just Randolph County. Branding initiatives are in the works to improve North Carolina’s position in competition for economic recruitment.
Meanwhile, the relationship between support services and investment in the megasite must work in tandem for the county to ultimately receive the optimal benefits associated with landing a tenant for the site. Providing for a potential supply chain is pivotal to recruitment. EDC officials have said the opportunity will be there for a number of companies if local governments stand in to provide the resources necessary.
Franklin pointed to water supply as one area in which the town of Liberty might not fit the prototypical mold of a cookie-cutter location. The prevalence of well water is something Franklin says companies might see as a strike against the community, and he encouraged county leaders to use some of the federal money they received this year to upgrade these and other concerns.
“Sometimes industry doesn’t like groundwater; they like surface water where they can actually see it out there and know that there is a treatment plant there,” Franklin said. “That may be unfair, but that’s just the way it is.”
Franklin also highlighted other areas in which the county is not necessarily as strong as it can be with additional financial investments. If a tenant begins to add jobs at the megasite, it could prove transformational for the region.
Franklin said he hopes to see many of the expanded housing opportunities go to Randolph County.
“Ideally, you want to be able to service additional residential [units],” Franklin said. “We know that it’s a regional project and that the region is going to be impacted, but we want to be prepared to capture as much of that impact in Randolph County as possible. Right now, from a water and sewer standpoint, we’re really not in a position to do that.”
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at email@example.com.