NC East Alliance delivers state of the region address

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT)- More than two dozen counties in our area are part of the NC East Alliance.

The non-profit partners with county leaders and businesses to help grow eastern North Carolina’s economy.

Not every county in the east is a part of this organization. Counties who are a part of it say they’re satisfied, and those who aren’t say they have a good reason for not joining.

“We felt that we could market ourselves better and more effectively than hiring someone else to do it,” Craven County Economic Development Director Timothy Downs said.

Craven County is one of many areas not a part of the alliance. Members are required to pay fees and not every county thinks it’s worth it. Alliance president and CEO John Chaffee says in order for this area to continue in the right direction everyone needs to work together.

“Those people that chose to be part of the team contribute information, that’s what helps create a much stronger more viable team,” John Chaffee said.

Current members say the partnership is successful.

Pitt County Manager Scott Elliott said, “I’d say their value has begun to increase in the past year.”

For the areas choosing to expand on their own, joining the alliance in the near future isn’t out of the question.

“We have had ongoing conversations about the value that the east alliance brings or would bring to us, and so we are open to the conversation,” Downs said.

Moving forward Chaffe just wants as many people on board as possible.

“Getting more people to come on and be part of the team, and recognizing that collectively we can have a much bigger impact than any one of us can achieve individually,” Chaffee said.

On Wednesday, businesses, elected leaders, and county employees met in Greenville to discuss the state of the region. The NC East Alliance held the event to tell people about the area’s progress and generate excitement about future projects.

The event happens every year and organizers say it’s an opportunity for the alliance to give people an update about what’s going on in the region. A number of people took the stage to talk about transportation, energy, and their role in the economy.

Alliance president and CEO John Chaffee delivered the state of the region address. Chaffee says eastern North Carolina is doing very well. He says more jobs are being created, and the population is continuing to grow.

Chaffee says there are a number of infrastructure projects in the works, including the Goldsboro bypass we told you about last month. He also says stem education is a big push for the remainder of this year.

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