On the west side of Jonathan Creek Road in Haywood County sits a parcel of land where crops and cows are being rapidly replaced by bulldozers and cones and piles upon piles of dirt.

Since late spring, this Smoky Mountain News series on economic development has attempted to define the landscape in which Haywood County’s economy operates.

Since late April, The Smoky Mountain News series on economic development has focused on the financial health of Haywood County, the mechanisms by which state, local and national governments encourage economic development and the various sectors that make up the county’s economy.

A robust and vigorous health care sector is the cornerstone of any community; convenient access to health care facilities is a make-or-break issue for many, including the elderly, the disabled or even young families expecting children.

Inside a nondescript miniature warehouse off Carolina Boulevard, Drew Singleton hovers about an imposing, intimidating metalworking machine; adjusting a knob here, spinning a wheel there, tweaking an armature and then stopping to assess the situation, he pauses and looks up to re-check his settings.

A recent designation by the North Carolina Department of Commerce could have a detrimental impact on Haywood County’s economic development efforts.

In the first installment of this series on Haywood County’s economic development, the analogy of a bathtub was used to illustrate the county’s economy: water flows in, water drains out and the freeboard is always changing, but amidst all the splashing, insular yet interconnected bubbles of industry rise and fall and swell and pop.

The newly minted Haywood County Economic Development Commission has hit the ground running in its first three months following a structural revamp that placed it under the umbrella of the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce.   

“We are giving the economic development commission a fresh, new look. That starts with basically everything,” said CeCe Hipps, the executive director of the Haywood Chamber.

GroWNC presents to EDC

In an effort to promote growth and a positive impact on Western North Carolina communities, GroWNC came in front of the Haywood County Economic Development Commission to showcase their project and its goals for the region.

The Haywood County Economic Development Commission last week listened to a summary of task force reports on how it and the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce could work under the same roof to promote economic development. 

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