Harnett County Officials announced the kickoff of the Strong Roots, Smart Growth Strategic Plan this month. The efforts of this new plan focus on cultivating a strategic process for economic development and growth throughout the County that aligns with the recommendations from the County’s 2015 Grow Harnett County Comprehensive Plan. The new Strong Roots, Smart Growth Strategic Plan will develop an economic development strategy for the County for the next five years.
Harnett County has contracted with Rose & Associates, a nationally recognized team of expert real estate and economic development consultants headquartered in Davidson, North Carolina, with more than 25 years of experience helping public, private, and institutional clients create measurable results based on applied research, real experiences, and tested strategies.
Harnett County Board of Commissioners Vice-Chairman Lewis Weatherspoon is looking forward to working with Rose & Associates on this project. “As County leaders, the consensus of the Harnett County Board of Commissioners was to learn what is good, what is not so good, and what definitely needs to be changed in our economic development strategy,” stated Weatherspoon. “Our overall goal is to identify the direction that the County needs to move forward for economic development growth and the creation of jobs in Harnett County. We are looking forward to getting the results of this study.”
County officials have developed a steering committee to work alongside Rose & Associates, to help guide the framework for the strategic plan. Members of the steering committee include leaders from local municipalities, community organizations, and businesses.
The steering committee held its first meeting with Rose & Associates on May 5 to discuss a brief situational analysis of the County and an overview of the process and timeline for developing the strategic plan.
Rose & Associates President, Kathleen Rose, highlighted Harnett County’s potential for economic growth. “Harnett County is strategically located at the center of two of North Carolina’s important assets, the Research Triangle Park and Fort Bragg, making it well positioned for future job and economic growth,” stated Rose. “Our team was impressed with the talent, resources, and assets that Harnett County has to offer during our kickoff visit. We look forward to assisting the County set a vision and path forward to achieve a vibrant and resilient economic future.”
The Strong Roots, Smart Growth Strategic Plan process will include four phases, which are anticipated to conclude in December 2021. Phase one kicked off this month with Rose and Associates participating in site tours of the County’s assets, collecting data, and interviewing stakeholders. Phase two will take place this Summer and focuses on community engagement and developing a work plan. Phase three will gear up in the Fall, where a draft plan will be presented to the public and County officials to review and approve. The final phase will begin in late Fall and will involve implementation of the recommendations included in the approved plan.
During the month of May, Rose & Associates will continue interviewing stakeholders within the County to gain insight on countywide economic development efforts.
This summer, an Economic Development Summit will be held to engage business industry organizations and leaders to provide input on the strategic plan. Later this Fall, community meetings will be held for the public to provide input on the County’s economic development strategy and feedback on the draft plan.
For more information on the Harnett County Strong Roots, Smart Growth Strategic Plan, contact Harnett County Economic Development at 910-893-7524