News from the NC Metro Mayor’s Conference in Rocky Mount

Imperial Center - Rocky Mount, NCLong story short: They were impressed.

In March, all eyes were on Rocky Mount with the news that the city was hosting the 2016 Metro Mayor’s Conference. It was held at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences, and highlights included a tour of Rocky Mount and beer tasting at the Koi Pond brewery.

Many attendees expressed their enthusiasm for the economic development throughout Rocky Mount, according to an article in the Rocky Mount Telegram. Some were inspired to try similar projects in their own cities.

Challenges Facing North Carolina Cities

Since 2001, the NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition has focused on issues that affect cities throughout the state. Nineteen mayors attended the conference. One of these challenges is the increase in the number of new residents. This non-partisan group also keeps a close eye on how state legislation economically impacts municipalities.

According to information from the NC Department of Budget and Management, state population is projected to grow by roughly 2 million over the next 20 years. In July 2015, the estimated population was a little more than 10 million, and is expected to grow to 20 million by 2035.

However, this population growth centers around the Triangle and Charlotte areas. Around 66 percent of North Carolinians live in these urban clusters. This growth has implications for voters as well--- 50 percent of the state’s voters live in 13 of the state’s 100 counties.

According to the 2010 census, Nash County’s urban vs. rural population was split almost evenly, with 52 percent of Nash County’s population urban, and 47 percent rural.

Population demographics are changing as well. Only Texas and Florida have a larger influx of Hispanics than NC. This means that communities should look at the needs of this group, including English as a Second Language Programming.  

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, Nash County’s population increased by 9.6 percent from 2000 to 2010, with a slight increase in the Hispanic and African-American population.

What they said about Rocky Mount

The meeting was a fabulous chance to showcase Rocky Mount projects that are already underway.  An article by Brie Handgraaf in the Rocky Mount Telegram highlighted some quotes from mayors that captured their impressions of Rocky Mount:


“…a fabulous tour of Rocky Mount. Who knew how much was going on in Rocky Mount? Well, now we do.”
- Esther Manheimer, mayor of Asheville


“It is exciting because I think Rocky Mount is a very similar community to Burlington in terms of size and challenges we face. I think Rocky Mount is ahead of us in many ways, especially with amenities that millennials are looking for and being an attractive environment for people to move to.”
- Ian Baltutis, mayor of Burlington

The Future of Rocky Mount

From downtown renovation to the Rocky Mount Mills project, Rocky Mount is continually implementing new initiatives to help businesses grow and develop. Some of these projects include:

Perhaps the greatest indicator of a brighter future for Rocky Mount lies within the determination and innovation of its residents. Working with local officials, citizens have helped fight crime in Rocky Mount, supported new businesses and embraced the city.

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