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Craven County Economic Development Strategic Plan

Craven County, NC

Craven County is located in North Carolina’s eastern region, has a population of just over 100,000, and is home to the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (employing approximately 14,000) and the 157,000-acre Croatan National Forest. Two rivers converge on New Bern, the picturesque and historic county seat. Major employers also include international companies such as B/S/H, Moen, and Weyerhauser. The county’s purpose in commissioning a new strategic plan was to lay the foundation for a reorganized economic development approach, aimed at ensuring long-term economic sustainability.  Coordinated, efficient efforts by the County Administration and Economic Development Special Work Group would be critical when utilizing precious county resources to expand the local economy.

RKG was selected through a competitive bidding process to assist Craven County in crafting its comprehensive Economic Development Strategic Plan. RKG led a thorough review of existing plans and documents, and worked closely with key stakeholders including county staff, elected officials, local real estate professionals and developers, property owners and managers, business leaders, economic development practitioners, and others. The resulting Strategic Plan detailed the opportunities and action items needed for the County to fully leverage its resources, and incorporated a number of short-, medium-, and long-term initiatives. A key element of the plan was to unite the efforts of the county’s various jurisdictions, private sector stakeholders, and regional and state strategic partners to achieve common objectives.

The plan was delivered, at which time the county acted quickly to adopt, enact, and implement several of the Plan's early phase recommendations and initiatives.

Image Credit: New Bern Convention and Visitors Bureau

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