Business and Industry

When it comes to supporting business in Mineral Springs, I am proud of my record.

The Parkdale Mills yarn spinning plant along Highway 75 is one of our success stories. Since our town's inception in 1999, Parkdale has been an important corporate citizen, providing jobs for the region and generating nearly 40% of the town's total annual revenue, most of it from electric franchise fees. The beautiful facility is well-maintained and carefully landscaped, making Parkdale not only a financial asset but a good corporate neighbor as well.

When Parkdale began seeking a location for an expanded facility five years ago, they even considered closing the Mineral Springs plant and relocating to Mississippi or to another location in the Carolinas. I worked with our zoning administrator to make sure that our zoning ordinance wouldn't prevent them from building an addition to their plant, and I worked closely with Union County Partnership for Progress director Maurice Ewing to put together a package to encourage Parkdale to stay right here in Mineral Springs. With the additional assistance of Mayor pro tem Alice Mabe, we stayed involved with Mr. Ewing's organization and secured the cooperation of the Union County commissioners. The commissioners approved an incentive package for Parkdale, and ultimately the corporation made their decision to stay in their Mineral Springs facility and expand it. Although Mineral Springs did not have to offer any additional financial incentives above and beyond what the county was offering, the low tax rate of Mineral Springs was one of the factors that kept Parkdale here.

The expansion has added an estimated 36 jobs, and has added $23.2 million to the town's tax base. Iincreased property tax revenues, coupled with an estimated 70% increase in electric usage, has brought tens of thousands of dollars annually in new revenue to Mineral Springs, not to mention the other intangible benefits of retaining such a fine corporate citizen in our community.

I am always standing by to assist our smaller businesses, too. Many of you are familiar with the Circle K/Shell store (formerly known as the Petro Express/Texaco) at the corner of Highway 75 and Potter Road. In 2005, I took a proactive position to help them bring a request for a zoning text amendment before the planning board and town council.

Since our zoning ordinance was adopted in 2002, there had been a provision in the ordinance that required convenience stores to be closed between the hours of midnight and 6:00 AM. At the time the ordinance was written, there were no 24-hour businesses in Mineral Springs, and nobody was affected by this limitation. When the Petro Express began 24-hour-per-day operation, our zoning administrator had no choice but to notify them that they were in violation. In an example of what a good corporate citizen they are, the management of Petro Express immediately closed the store between midnight and 6:00 AM.

When I was informed of this closure, I immediately (within minutes) met with the assistant manager of the store and had her put me in touch with the district manager so that I might help him begin the process of applying for a change to the ordinance. Based on my discussions with Petro Express management, I believed that there may have been good reasons to change the ordinance and allow them to operate 24 hours per day.

Therefore, I contacted our zoning administrator and secured the proper forms for Petro Express to file an application for an amendment, and assisted the district manager in getting the application process started. As a result, the town council decided to allow the amendment, permitting the Petro Express to remain open 24 hours a day. An added advantage to the town of this decision is that law enforcement officers now are frequently seen at the Petro Express during overnight hours, contributing to greater public safety. And to this day, as Petro Express became Kangaroo, as the Subway opened, and as Kangaroo became Circle K, the store as been open 24 hours a day to enhance both convenience and public safety in Mineral Springs.

As we get closer to realizing everybody's dream of an expanded and upgraded downtown business district, I have been in the forefront of every initiative and planning session. I have met with downtown developer Raley-Miller and other downtown business owners. I organized and coordinated a meeting and information session with the town council and these interested parties. Your council and I finally succeeded in obtaining the long-awaited Union County sewer line for downtown Mineral Springs in 2014. An early concept for the property behind the town hall is shown on the right; that concept is no longer on the table, but the property is still zoned "Town Center" which will allow mixed residential and retail/service uses. And properties along Highway 75 are being restored and redeveloped by their owners as your town officials continue to make the development ordinance more friendly to small businesses. Expansion of a quality business community in Mineral Springs has long been one of my top priorities.