Presentation: City Economic Output Lagging, Goodmon Says

 Michael Goodmon did not serve up fully baked Durham puff piece at his lunch presentation on Monday, during which he even asked club members to stop their approving bursts of applause while he spoke. All in, it was something flavored a bit more sweet and sour. 

 “We are not growing economically,” said the long-time city developer who has been instrumental to the city’s new-found prominence as a good place to call home. “We are growing by people.”  

 The city, he said, is “not doing very well” in state rankings of economic growth by output, though the Triangle region combined is strong. Durham itself places in the last half of North Carolina’s rankings of gross domestic product by statistical metropolitan area, he said.  To boot, early-stage investment capital for start-ups is “thinner than it was five years ago” and he believes the capital is “even harder to find” because of the city’s diversityAffordable housing is direly needed. 

 “We need to grow equitably, he said. 

 As for the city’s challenges, they are different than they used to be — a good sign, he said. “It’s good when problems change,” he said. “You should have new problems each year.” 

 On the sweeter side, Goodmon said the city’s “renaissance” that began about 15 years ago has largely been achieved For the next few years, the pipeline will be flowing with city-enhancing, jobs-creating projects in the public eye or soon to be in the public eye. 

 Among Durham’s differentiating advantages are its cultural inclination against hierarchy and its community enthusiasmhe said. Among the immediate steps needed to keep moving are greater emphasis on ways the center city can be more attractive to family and kids. Examples can be found up I-95 in Rocky Mount, he said.  

 Goodmon spoke with pride about an economic development project that took them out of the urban centers in the Triangle to Rocky Mount where they are developing Rocky Mount Mills. There mission was to take the more rural economic development efforts beyond finding someone to do more than build another chicken processing plant. Check out the results at https://www.rockymountmills.com/ 

 Among ways we can help: “Get involved.” 

 Read Goodmon’s entire resume and background [here] or in last week’s newsletter. 

 (Submitted by Mark Lazenby) 

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