Officials from Wilmington and New Hanover County held a special joint meeting to discuss the Garner Report. The City Council and County Commissioners gathered Thursday afternoon to grade themselves on the progress made, since the 2014 Garner Report, called “Pathways to Prosperity”, was published. Of the 21 recommendations on economic development, there is progress to report on several fronts.
Officials from the city and county point to the upcoming development of water and sewer service on U.S. 421, the recent overhaul of New Hanover County’s special use permit, and the new regional marketing initiative tied to the Wells Fargo PGA golf tournament in May, as items that the report strongly recommends.
Chris Coudriet, New Hanover County Manager, was happy to check those items off the list.
“Yeah I think there has been a lot of good work, some really good things accomplished, but as everybody said there is a lot more to do. We’re going to always have to prime the pump. “
Also picking up steam is the region’s marine bioscience industry, which has grown in tandem with UNCW’s marine-related programs.
However several items recommended in the report remain just that – recommendations.
(Scroll down to download the Garner Report and related documents)
High on the list is to provide the public free high-speed Internet access throughout New Hanover County, which hasn’t happened.
Also in the report was a suggestion to create a county department of economic and community development and hire a Director, which several commissioners say is unnecessary.
The creation of a pharmacy school is under discussion. And officials acknowledge more work needs to be done on growing the talent pool through workforce development and advanced education.
The group also discussed the need to bring back the film incentive program.
Pathways to Prosperity: New Hanover County’s Plan for Jobs and Investment (Final Garner Report)
Competitive Realities Report of New Hanover County, North Carolina (Garner Analysis of Region)