Claremont, Conover share ideas

Conover and Claremont officials met Monday with no agenda.

Rather, the two cities gathered for a special, informal meeting to enhance relationships and grow ideas.

The cities, separated by mere miles on U.S. 70 and Interstate 40, have always shared resources and infrastructure.

Now, officials say that partnership is more important than ever.

“If we could share costs and services, it would cost us less and provide better resources,” said Conover City Manager Donald Duncan. “There are always things we could partner together with.”

In recent years, Conover and Claremont have both had economic and development successes. While projects like Conover Station have boosted Conover’s hopes for the future, Claremont has grown its business parks with new companies, jobs and future opportunities.

Like the rest of Catawba County, both cities have grown respectively as well.

Duncan said there are shared opportunities between the cities near the U.S. 70 and I-40 corridors.

In the past, that shared interest has revolved around industrial parks — something Duncan said he’d like to see continue.

“We certainly are really good neighbors,” he said. “There may be areas in Conover that can be served better by Claremont, and vice versa.”

On Monday, officials from both cities were treated to a dinner at Conover Station, where they had the chance to meet one another and brainstorm ideas.

After municipal elections in 2011, both cities have several new faces.

Claremont City Manager Doug Barrick said the dinner provided a chance for officials to put a face to a name.

“Our goal is to build those personal relationships,” Barrick said, adding that both cities have fairly new mayors, managers and city councilmen. “If something was to come up in one of the business parks between the cities, those relationships would already be there.”

Barrick said there are issues that all Catawba County communities can help fight.
“When you go to the legislator with an issue with two or three communities, it can better your effort and your cause,” he said.

Conover City Councilman Kyle Hayman agrees.

“Any time we can get together with a neighboring city, only good can come from that,” he said. “Any city successful in one place will help everyone else reap the benefits. There’s a history of working together, so this just continues on with that.”