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Wilmington and industry

Beleive it or not, there is a good deal of industry in Wilmington; it's just tightly knotted and not spread out all over the place. There's a fairly good amount along the 421 corridor, along 23rd Street, and of course there's GE, which is huge and getting bigger. That said, your point is still valid. Wilmington should have more indsutry than it does, and the reason that it doesn't is based in its history and timing. It was a shipping hub for products from outlying counties sixty years ago. As the hub dried up, downtown Wilmington began resembling the current downtown Chadbourn. Again, a "re-inventing oneself" did the trick. Wilmington began to market itself as a tourist destination, and then a retiree's dream. (THERE is the danger you face if you do reinvent yourself and become a retirement Mecca. You will never again see heavy industry get in, once the geezers arrive. Witness the reaction to Titan Cement and the new state port in Southport.) So Wilmington, handicapped by size and history, missed it's opportunity to become an industrial center. It went from small, regional port to tourist and retiree Mecca fairly quickly. Oh, there's still plenty of room along 421 and down by the port, but the demographics in Wilmington are so different than the demographics in Columbus County, Wilmington would rather pass on any heavy industry now. They even have a resolution saying that they only desire clean, green, white-collar type businesses to locate here. To put it bluntly, Wilmington is too rich and too retired to want any new industrial plant. That's one reason that we have a small but increasingly permanent underclass in Wilmington, who will probably never be able to retire. Regarding your roads, that trip over to I-95 may not be far, but you are still basically restricted to locating along the US 74 corridor. You need more four lane North-South roads to open up the Southern half of the county. Let's face it, I don't care if you're talking about 701, 410, or Old Stake Road, the drive from Tabor City to Whiteville is only enjoyable if you're on a combine or just site-seeing. If you're working, hauling, trying to get somehwere, the North-South roads stink.

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