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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: City-county partnership honored for economic development

The city of Hendersonville and Henderson County, at loggerheads in the past over who controls utilities, annexation and other development issues, have scored successes for the community when they worked together.

Recognizing that, the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development honored the city and county as its Partners of the Year, crediting their work in the "team sport" of industrial recruitment. The case in point occurred over a nine-month span last year when the City Council and Board of Commissioners worked together to create the Garrison Industrial Park off Upward Road at I-26, signing a three-party agreement along with the Partnership's Economic Investment Fund to buy the land and extend utilities. As a result, the Partnership landed anchor tenant Jabil Healthcare, which is investing $38 million in a plant that will employ 150 people.

"This strategic vision to secure and mature an industrial park moved the needle of economic development in Henderson County," said Partnership Chairman Beau Waddell said.

"Economic development is a team sport," board member Chip Gould said. "It took a lot of vision to see 40 acres of dirt's potential of being an industrial. It was a risk, but we are fortunate to have partners that trusted us and wanted to play the game. Because of our collaboration, we showed a client we are a business-friendly community and we can work together for the good of the community."

Henderson County Commission Chair Bill Lapsley presented the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine to retired County Manager Steve Wyatt, a leader behind the scenes in many of the major industrial recruiting successes over his 16-year career here.