Editorial: Reversing past years of emptiness

Feb. 01, 2014 @ 11:24 PM

Still battling, still fighting, and refusing to give up, Triangle North is trying to shake up its approach and get the shutout off the scoreboard.

We’ve cheered the project, believing the economy will turn, the offering will be sweet and the jobs will come.

Hard to believe the forecast from Dec. 13, 2005, has not materialized. After all, that was well before the recession dumped everybody. And we mean everybody.

Said former Gov. Jim Holshouser that day, “People all over the state, indeed all over the country, will be watching.”

We thought so, too. Eight years later, Pat Mitchell came to see the area. She’s the assistant secretary for rural economic development at the state Department of Commerce.

She said the region was ahead of the curve, even now. Leveraging the tax bases together between four counties is a unique model, one that should spur opportunities.

Her supervisor Sharon Decker, the state commerce secretary, was along shortly after and spoke to a group in the Vance County Administrative Building. She agreed – the model is the right approach, ahead of the curve.

In January of 2007, a detailed business plan to guide operations and a marketing plan for attracting businesses was under way. In February of the following year, a rebranding took place, with Triangle North replacing Kerr-Tar Hub. It was open for business. One month later, Vance-Granville Community College announced plans for the Corporate Education Center located in the 300-acre park in Vance County.

There was a new logo in June 2008, a new marketing partner six months later and a new executive director in January 2009. More marketing and campaigning efforts have followed.

What there hasn’t been are tenants.

Now coming before us is Russell Peck, a senior vice president for public strategy firm Mercury. He’s charged with attracting companies looking to relocate or expand operations in a rural setting.

Mercury will promote the park locally and nationally, freshen up the website, update the master plan and revise marketing materials.

He’s a former campaign manager for Gov. Pat McCrory.

Breaking up shutouts are tough. But we know often, stringing together a little something can lead to a big swing in momentum.

Be the one.