Locals advised to 'capture the moment' as U.S. Open nears

Feb. 04, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

This year's United States Open Championships will be more important for Moore County and the surrounding region than ever before, according to Moore County's economic development leader.

Moore County Partners in Progress Executive Director Pat Corso was the speaker at the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce's Public Policy Luncheon Monday at The Flame Steakhouse, and he stressed that Moore County and its neighbors will need to capitalize on the economic driver that is the upcoming men and women's U.S. Opens, our nation's golf championships.

Moore County's Partners in Progress is creating a digital marketing campaign, through public funding from the county's governing bodies, to persuade visitors to consider living in Moore County through a website called “Moore Alive,” Corso said. The website is expected to launch in late March.

“Moore Alive is about selling the quality of life in Moore County,” he said. “And it’s not dissimilar to the quality of life in Sanford.”

All of Central Carolina needs to focus on how they can use the momentum of thousands of golf fans who will enter Pinehurst from June 12-15 for the Men's Open and from June 19-22 for the Women's Open, which will be played on Pinehurst's #2 course — marking the first time ever that the men's and women's championships will be contested on the same course in back-to-back weeks.

“How do we capture this moment when you're going to have the world focus on you?” Corso said.

The Moore Alive website will include profiles on the type of people the organization hopes to attract to “live, work and play” in the county, and several of the municipalities will plan festivals and events during the evening after the day's rounds, he said. Lee County can follow a similar path, Corso said.

“Claim it,” he said. “Own it. It's your Open. I know a lot of people are staying (in Lee County). … You can plan all kinds of stuff.”

Corso also touched on economic development in general, repeating advice he was first given when he was named the executive director of Moore County's economic development organization.

Economic development is community development, he said, and economic developers tend to get bogged down in recruiting new businesses instead of improving the community's quality of life.

After Chamber of Commerce President Bob Joyce asked Corso what he looks for in a community to expand his Dunkin’ Donuts franchise, Corso said he was close to a deal to bring a store to Sanford.

“It'll be a year before you see anything because that's just how long these things take,” he said. “It's a prideful thing for us. Sanford is a great place to do business.”