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Wilmington leaders talk strategy to foster economic growth

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Tuesday night Wilmington leaders reviewed last year's economic development and put a plan in place for further growth in 2013 at WHQR's public forum.

The Cape Fear Economic Development Council forum focused on what most people are trying to stick to: New Year's resolutions. This focus though was on a broader level, the demand for people to work together to make Wilmington's economy grow in 2013.

"We have to work together to figure out which direction we want to go," says Connie Majure-Rhett, chamber president and CEO. "How to attract companies here, how to attract people here, how to keep people here and how to develop jobs so people don't have to leave."

Despite low numbers in 2012, the panel is hopeful that the new year will bring a new outlook for the Port City. New ways to attract businesses to the area is a main goal of the plan.

"The ways we're going to have to attack that are to lower the cost on business, to make it faster to get your permits, and to make sure we've got a skilled work force in place that can do the type of work that manufactures and other businesses need," says Representative Rick Catlin.

Catlin says times are changing which means the community may have to re-think it's plan of attack in order to be successful moving forward. He says state leaders are also working to help make the progress easier.

"We're having to catch up with our new economic realities and I think we have a legislator in place right now that's going to work real hard to do that," says Catlin.

The panel, which including representatives from many different organizations and affiliations, says bringing new companies and businesses to the area will also help with the issue of fostering job growth in the region.

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