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Future Forward Project Team Seeks Feedback on Economic Development Plan

The Future Forward project team is seeking feedback from Lincoln County residents and business leaders on the economic development strategy they have spent months researching and planning. The Future Forward Leadership Committee will hold a community briefing on Tuesday, April 29 from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Campus of Gaston College. Participants may review the plan developed by the committee, including the committee’s proposed ideas for improving local economies. The community briefing will be led by Barry Matherly, a member of Future Forward Leadership Committee and Executive Director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association. “As a member of the Future Forward Committee I have made a commitment to be a part of the region’s economic future and encourage citizens to get involved by attending this briefing,” Matherly said. “Those in attendance will have an opportunity to shape the future of the region.” “This is a prime opportunity for residents across the region to comment on the proposed action plan for renewing our area’s prosperity, and to have their say in how area leaders should proceed in implementing the Future Forward regional economic development initiative,” said Ken Poole, CEO of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness in Arlington, VA and lead consultant for the Future Forward project. “This is a plan designed to impact and improve their economic future; their feedback can only strengthen the work we have done up to this point.” For additional information about or directions to any of the community briefing locations, call the Western Piedmont Council of Governments at 828-322-9191. The Future Forward project is made possible by a $320,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and an $80,000 commitment from a N.C. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). It is one of four comprehensive economic development strategy projects currently underway in North Carolina; other studies are being conducted in the U.S. 5th Congressional district, the U.S. 8th Congressional District and in Gaston/Cleveland Counties. Those studies are funded by federal EDA and CDBG funds. Along with professional consultants and staff from Hickory’s Western Piedmont Council of Governments, the Future Forward project team includes a 21-member leadership committee composed of citizens from each county included in the study. This leadership committee was appointed by U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger, who helped to obtain federal funding for this project.