EDC to get free updated website


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Pasquotank County and Elizabeth City are getting a new plan and a new website for economic development for free.

The city-county Economic Development Commission voted last week to work with Creative Economic Development Consulting, of Elkin, and ElectriCities to come up with a new economic development plan and to update its website. Those services have a value around $35,000, but will be free for the EDC because of Elizabeth City's affiliation with ElectriCities, according to EDC Director Christian Lockamy. ElectriCities is a management firm for the NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency, which includes Elizabeth City.

Lockamy, who started as director in October, proposed the projects during an EDC board meeting last week. Economic development agencies need to regularly update their strategies to make sure they're targeting the right industries in the right ways, Lockamy said.

ElectriCities is also offering Creative consulting's help in updating the agency's plan, Lockamy said. With the company's help, the EDC would review prior economic development documents, review the city's and county's land use plans, and past and on-going efforts to boost the economy, he said. It would also look at broader trends and growing industries, he noted.

The end result would help the city and county identify which kinds of companies to try to recruit, he said.

The new plan is important because “it gives us the avenue to be able to obtain data that I need to be able to go out and recruit and adequately do my job,” Lockamy said, also noting that aerospace companies and warehouse and distribution businesses already seem like a good fit for the area.

Given the plan wouldn't cost any money, board members agreed to Lockamy's request with little discussion Wednesday.

However, board member Peter Thomson stressed the plan would need measurable goals so the EDC would know if it worked or not.

Lockamy said measurable goals could easily be set for the plan. Depending on what the board wants, it could call for recruiting a specific kind of business or creating a certain number of jobs, he said in examples.

The EDC also approved working with ElectriCities, again at no charge, to update its website, elizabethcitypasquotankedc.com. Lockamy said the website has good content, but that content is becoming dated; the website also doesn't load well on mobile devices, he added.

A website is important for recruiting businesses, as almost all companies research potential new locations online, he said.

In a followup interview, Lockamy said the website would have new photos, including lots of scenic images of the area. The city and county appeal to mid-sized employers who will consider quality of life in their potential locations, he said.

The website will also showcases local industries, a pro-business environment, and the county's proximity to metro areas in Virginia, he said.

Both projects should start next month and be done in five or six months, Lockamy added.