Fredrick Davis is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning. He is currently working with North Carolina’s Northeast Commission in Edenton as part of the Carolina Economic Revitalization Corps program.
A major development is in the works for the town of Gatesville and Gates County. The County’s Board of Commissioners voted to approve a Merchant Commerce Park. The plan is for this new development to be the center for community and economic development in the county. It will include both commercial and residential development located along the major highway of US 158.
Presently residents of Gates County must travel outside the county for any major commercial spending. From grocery stores to shopping malls, consumer purchases are benefiting other counties. By investing in the plans for a major economic development project, Gates County is positioning itself to attract big businesses to the area. Gates County hopes that with it’s resurrection, Merchant Commerce Park will bring a consistent revenue stream to the area, as well as an increased tax base.
Under the notion of “if you build it they will come” Gates County wants to be proactive in making sure buyers of property in the park can attract businesses. However, it has not yet been determined what businesses Gates Chamber of Commerce is trying to attract to Gates County.
Questions still remain regarding what the long term impact a development of this magnitude will have on current residents and ultimately how much it will cost the County considering the infrastructure improvements that will be necessary for operations within Merchant Commerce Park. Other impacts such as traffic patterns and the community’s identity will also have to be taken into consideration as a result of the new plans. However, the citizens are excited about the new development plans and appear ready to embrace the change.