Carter seeking to market county's assets

John Thompson • Updated Nov 16, 2017 at 9:53 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County’s demographic problems and its potential economic improvements were topics of discussion at Thursday’s quarterly meeting of the county’s Joint Economic and Community Development Board.

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey said the 2020 U.S. Census may report that the county’s population has declined from 2010. An estimate conducted in 2016 projected the county at a population of 56,502. The 2010 Census reported the population at 57,424.

Elizabethton Planning Director Jon Hartman said the county’s natural growth was in decline, with the number of deaths exceeding the number of births. He said the future of Carter County is dependent on the migration of people to Carter County.

“That is why marketing is so important,” Humphrey said. There are several ways the county is attempting to market itself, but Humphrey said some recent grants have helped the county with both attracting new migration and with keeping young Carter Countians after they graduate.

The county received a Competitive Marketing Assistance Grant earlier this year from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. That grant led to a professional quality video by DesignSensory and also what Humphrey called a “dynamic website.”

Susan Robinson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development, said the county has been awarded a grant that will “show our students that they can find good jobs in Carter County.”

She said the program will provide 90 internships for high school seniors who have already completed their academic credits. The internships are in local government and businesses and will provide the students with minimum wage payments for their work. The program will allow 30 students a semester for a year and a half to participate in the internships.

On another matter, Humphrey said he has met with local developer of hotels and that a site for a Carter County hotel has been selected and the developer “is working diligently on a site plan. Everything is positive.”

Humphrey said the county is also preparing to rejuvenate the county’s Industrial Development Bond Board. He said the matter will be presented to the Carter County Commission on Monday. The city of Elizabethton has its own board.

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