Pender County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. With growth comes growing pains and changes.
“We are undergoing changes,” stated David Piepmeyer, chairman of the Pender County Board of County Commissioners. “Change is good. The leadership is proactive, and we are witnessing many substantive programs and plans coming into fruition.”
Piepmeyer was pleased to announce the county received a $200,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management to perform a resiliency analysis of the NC 210 corridor between US Hwy. 17 in Hampstead to Interstate 40 in Rocky Point.
“The approximately 13-mile corridor is a designated hurricane evacuation route but is itself susceptible to flooding and other serious hazards along much of its route,” said Travis Henley, Pender County Planning and Community Development Director.
The purpose of the study is to analyze the barriers to resiliency along the corridor, identify solutions to those barriers, and make recommendations for specific actions to maintain the corridor from a transportation, land use, and floodplain management perspective.
“Pender County received this grant through North Carolina Emergency Management’s Transportation Infrastructure Resiliency Fund and anticipates completing the study by the end of 2023,” said Piepmeyer.
Another project progressing is the Hampstead Bypass, Piepmeyer said.
“Clearing work is underway for the bypass,” he said.
Commissioner Jackie Newton sees growth through the Pender County Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
“Two Parks and Recreation Trust Fund – known as PARTF- grant applications have been filed for the development of a 60-acre tract of land north of Burgaw as well as acreage next door to Hampstead Kiwanis Park,” said Newton. “We’re seeing programs and improvements at our Penderlea facilities too.”
Doug Shipley, Pender County Assistant Manager, said county representatives are participating in a study for the East Coast Greenway, a hiking and bicycling trail that travels from Maine to Florida.
“Planning, Parks and Recreation, and our tourism staff are participating in the advisory panel in the growth of the greenway through Pender County,” said Shipley.
Interim County Manager Carolyn Moser continues pursuing the steps of obtaining architectural designs and research for a new Pender County Health and Human Services building.
“We already own the land,” said Moser. “A great deal of funding will come from state and federal sources. This new facility is a win-win for our residents.”
The Pender County Library system is also beginning the necessary steps to build a new facility in Hampstead, next door to the Hampstead Annex.
The library continues to provide free programming for children throughout the summer, as well as internet connectivity for underserved communities.
“Our staff works tirelessly to bring new and creative programs to Pender County,” said Allen Phillips-Bell, the director of the library system.
Pender Commerce Park has attracted large companies and continued growth along the 421 corridor is expected.
“We are anticipating a great deal of commercial and residential growth in rural Pender due to anticipated focus at the State level on the 421 corridor as a potential interstate highway to enhance intrastate access to the ports,” said Newton.
Pender County Commissioners continue their involvement to ensure proper healthcare services throughout the county.
Just last month, Commissioner Newton traveled to Washington DC to lobby for resiliency funding and payout of approved funding on behalf of Pender County citizens affected by Mathew and Florence flooding.
“We are concluding our search for a new county manager and will have an announcement soon,” said Piepmeyer. “However, in the meanwhile, we have proven leaders in our Pender County staff and board of commissioners who work tirelessly to provide services to our residents.”