North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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27 N O RT H C A R O L I N A E CO N O M I C D E V E LO P M E N T G U I D E I t's a 40-minute drive from Charlotte to Kings Mountain. Traveling south on Interstate 85, the Queen City's almost 1 million residents, towering skyscrapers and heavy international- airport traffi c pass by the window as urban sprawl becomes forest and fi elds once you exit U.S. 74 toward Kings Mountain. The highway passes the spot where the Catawba Indian Nation wants to build a casino and two hotels that, members say, will bring 3,700 jobs and $349 million of annual economic impact to the Cleveland County region. An exit sign points toward 1,660-acre Moss Lake, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impound- ment on Buffalo Creek. Moss Lake is a peaceful body of water, where bass anglers fi sh and houses line the pier-studded shore. Named for John H. Moss, the ex-Kings Mountain mayor who championed its construction, the 40-year-old reservoir is a steady water supply for residents and businesses. "In the late '60s and early '70s, local leaders decided we needed water empower- ment," says current Mayor Rick Mur- phrey, a retired textile executive who's in his sixth term. He calls Moss Lake one of the community's wisest business investments. "Water is a big driver in economic development." Small houses, reminders of a history woven with textiles, sit close to tree-lined streets in downtown Kings Mountain, which is a stone's throw from South Carolina. The city incorporated in 1874, almost 100 years after the Revolutionary War battle for which it's named. That clash, about 10 miles south of the city, ended with Patriots decisively defeating Loyalist troops in what Thomas Jeffer- son called "the turning point of the Revolutionary War." Kings Mountain's 10,648 residents are witnessing a different revolution today, one involving modems, not muskets. Local government and business leaders have paid close attention to infrastructure — such as Moss Lake — through the B Y D . L A W R E N C E B I V I N S Maximizing its assets, this rural city courts businesses that have cosmopolitan names. KINGS MOUNTAIN Companies often bypass small communities during site selection, blaming a lack of workforce, access and utilities. North Carolina's rural cities are close enough to metros to be convenient for business yet far enough to make living easier. One such city is Kings Mountain, which, with the help of plentiful water, electricity and natural gas, has welcomed big-name businesses. Solution: Challenge: Kings Mountain r e drawn water from Moss Lake since it opened in ata centers and a power plant are among its latest consumers. C A S E S T U D Y Kings Mountain HAIL TO

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