N.C. Secretary of Commerce: vision, variety lead to success
North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker met with local leaders Tuesday afternoon and encouraged them to continue economic development through community revitalization.
Brick Capital Community Development Corporation hosted Decker and leaders from the North Carolina Community Development Initiative at the W.B. Wicker Business Campus for an informal presentation and tour of the building.
"It thrills me to be in this room with all of you because I say that economic development is community work," Decker said.
The state has its role, she said, but it takes a variety of individuals with vision and skills to accomplish successful economic development in a community.
Decker, who was appointed in January, said North Carolina's economy mirrors the state's during the 1950s — still reshaping after the Great Depression. The state, she said, focused on health, education, economic development, infrastructure, environment, arts and tourism.
"As we come out of this recession, we need to focus on these tenets," Decker said. Referring to Brick Capital's revitalization of the Wicker Center, she added, "This model is a perfect example of that happening in your community."
Much important work is accomplished by nonprofits, she said, and the state is in the process of determining how to support those organizations during difficult budget cycles.
"We are talking about a pool of competitive grants for nonprofits in the state and have looked at some of the best practices in other states where this is the approach they've taken," Decker said."My commitment to you is we will figure it out. I don't know what it looks like standing right here, but I know it's important that we maintain our commitment to community redevelopment."
Brick Capital Executive Director Kate Rumely said she was very excited to have Decker at the facility and to learn about the organization's priorities and accomplishments. Decker also toured a similar facility in Raleigh earlier Tuesday, according to NC Community Development Initiative COO Tara Kenchen.