Creating new spaces to grow

Catawba County leaders gave a green light to efforts to secure loan funding that could help economic development leaders create new "inventory" for future industries.

During a Monday night meeting, Catawba County Commissioners approved application for a 2 percent simple interest loan for up to $4 million. The loan would be part of the state department of commerce's Small Cities Community Development Block Grant.

Catawba County Economic Development Corp. President Scott Millar said loan funds would go toward creating infrastructure for a new multi-jurisdictional park off N.C. 16 in Conover. There's an option to buy a 159-acre piece of property that could potentially be used as the next piece in the region's growing data corridor.

Regardless of the future tenant for the site, Millar said the potential project gives the county a chance to create something it needs.

"We have to find a way to have some modern, compatible industrial facilities," he said, adding that until those types of properties are developed "we will not get these big national projects."

To read more of this story, pick up the weekend print edition of Catawba County's community newspaper, The Observer News Enterprise, at newsstands throughout the county.