Todd Tucker, president of Surry County Economic Development Partnership, Inc., updated the Elkin Board of Commissioners on Monday night at Town Hall during regular session.
The economic development expert discussed progress relating to projects located throughout Surry County.
“Surry County had a good year economic development wise. The SCEDP had 29 project inquiries, which was the same number as in 2012. We had eight client visits which was down from 2012 with 17. However we did have four project announcements that the SCEDP and partners worked on, compared to one in 2012,” said Tucker.
According to Tucker, Shenandoah Furniture had 48 announced jobs and $2.5 million investment. Awesome Products had 140 announced jobs and $21 million investment. Ottenweller Corp. announced 20 jobs and $1.5 million in investment. All three of those were Mount Airy projects. Sports Solutions jumped 10 jobs and $1.1 million in investment, which was a Pilot Mountain project.
Tucker projects more than 200 announced new jobs and more than $26 million in investment during the next couple of years.
“We did have 21 calls that we could not respond to based on the need of the project — 20 were looking for an existing building of 100,000 square feet or more and only one was looking for a site. We called on 59 exiting industries compared to 54 in 2012. We had 58 industry follow up visits compared to 66 in 2012. We had 72 meetings with small businesses compared to 50 in 2012,” said Tucker.
Tucker said the SCEDP created a new website, added a new promotional video and incorporated a new business intelligence program on the website.
Commissioners also exchanged a discussion with Tucker on exploration of constructing a spec building to help lure in a potential company to Elkin. A spec building would provide modern construction with an unfinished product, thus allowing a company to modify the final touches to best meet its needs. Tucker said spec buildings are attractive, but carry risk.
Tucker estimated that a spec building of 100,000 square feet or greater would cost millions and still not guarantee a suitable company.
“A large company willing to look at a large spec building is great, but we have to look at the fact that they’re also going to look at our workforce,” said Tucker. “People need to have the skills companies need before they settle into a region.”
Also during the meeting, commissioners scheduled two budget workshops to develop its 2014-2015 budget. The first workshop will be held on May 1 at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall. The second date will be May 22 at 5:30 p.m. Items forwarded to the budget workshop may be first learned at Elkin’s annual retreat scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Elkin Center.
Monday’s Town Hall meeting saw newcomer Commissioner Bob Norton discuss problems relating to dogs and leash laws. Norton indicated that the Elkin Police Department had to respond to 36 animal calls. Two dogs were euthanized in 2013.
The leach topic and ordinances that surround animals is in development.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or follow on Twitter @NewsGonz.