A number of business developments in Edgecombe County in 2019 continue to give credence to speculation the county’s economic and employment situation is headed in the right direction.

While the initial announcement of two industries — Corning and Triangle Tire — coming to Edgecombe County was made in December 2017, steady work on the Corning facility as well as basic construction on the entrance into what now is being marketed as the Kingsboro Business Park kept people excited.

Carolinas Gateway Partnership President and CEO Norris Tolson explained the move.

“As we talked with prospects about a variety of options, it became clear that what Kingsboro is heading toward is a multi-use development,” Tolson said. “So we’ve started marketing it as the Kingsboro Business Park.”

Tolson said in addition to solid industrial prospects, such as the steel cable supplier for Triangle Tire, other non-industrial prospects are emerging.

“We reserved 20 acres at the Kingsboro exit for a travel plaza-type operation and we’ve gotten strong interest in that location,” he said.

Tolson said that as he and Gateways Vice President Oppie Jordan have talked with prospects, they have told them they wanted them to think outside the box as they developed their proposals.

“We’ve seen some interesting concepts,” Tolson said.

Tolson said there also has been interest from lodging chains and that two sites have been identified — one a traveler-type facility nearer to the Kingsboro exit and the second a suites-type facility nearer U.S. 64 Alt. between Corning and Triangle.

“We’ve also had interest from multi-use developers as well as developers talking about building apartments and condos,” he said.

Tolson said the housing interest is vital.

“Currently, we have something less than 400 units (available) in Edgecombe and Nash counties and we’re already behind,” he said. “We have one developer who has asked about land west of Kingsboro and is talking about building houses that would serve that (manufacturing employee) market … 1,500 to 2,000 square feet.

“We also are encouraged that a couple of people are looking at (two- and three-bedroom) apartment complexes and garden duplexes (nearer to Corning),” he said.

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Article written by John H. Walker, Staff Writer for Rocky Mount Telegram