Editorial: Enhance community attractions

Aug. 16, 2014 @ 11:55 PM

Enhancing what already exists is a good idea in trying to stimulate the economy of Vance County.

Friday’s news was welcomed. We know we are a good place for tourism, mainly through Kerr Lake. While the percentage increase was minimal, the impact of $42.83 million is not.

Earnings through local and state taxes were $3.72 million in 2013. That saves each of our households hundreds of dollars.

The state as a whole is among the national leaders in tourism. With our spot along Interstate 85, we have the opportunity to catch many travelers for any number of reasons. We’re the first option crossing the state line going south, and some distance from the last major metro along the route.

It is an advantage that can’t be bought.

Earlier this year, Gov. Pat McCrory told a packed civic center at Vance-Granville Community College extensive analysis was ongoing for each of North Carolina’s industries. He spoke of natural recruits going to bigger cities, like Charlotte and Raleigh. The emphasis, he said then, was to target the rural areas and put in incentives.

Unified leadership between Henderson and Vance County is advised. But with the city’s recent decisions impacting downtown development, the county should not wait in any of its pursuits.

Many have been hopeful of industry as a kickstarter, a boost to the tax base in addition to being able to put a dent in our high unemployment. That hope can remain.

But 1 million people a year already make Kerr Lake a destination. Why not add options for them? Why not enhance what is already working rather than wait for the big score?

We’re more than half a decade since the last major employer hit town. We’re more than overdue for another. Diversifying our efforts, and taking advantage of the governor’s plans, would be a prudent decision.

McGregor Hall will help us, not save us. It’s another attraction in the tourism industry. We’ll then have major indoor and outdoor entertainment.

It is time to add supplemental parts to each attraction.