Cabarrus Conversations: Midland Town Manager Doug Paris
Q: Over the last three years, Midland’s tax base has grown 17.8 percent and is on track to grow an additional 21 percent over the next three years. What do you attribute that to?
A: I attribute that to Midland being a desirable place to invest and live. We are seeing growth in manufacturing and industrial projects due to our proximity to the Charlotte market along with our excellent highway and rail infrastructure. We are seeing growth in housing due to our excellent quality of life and school system.
Q: How will that growth and development affect Midland’s population and job market?
A: Based on current housing approvals our population will increase by 24 percent within the next four years. We already have a surplus of excellent jobs and with growth in our manufacturing and industrial cluster that will continue to be a trend.
Q: Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway Co. is the only railroad in the Charlotte region that connects CSX Transportation with the Norfolk & Southern railroad lines. Why is having a working rail corridor such a key asset for Midland and Cabarrus County? How is Midland prepared to help companies meet their future transportation needs?
A: The rail line allows a company to ship manufacturing inputs or outputs efficiently, which improves their margins. Additionally, having connections to both CSX and Norfolk Southern gives a company leverage when it comes to negotiating freight rates. These advantages, along with our location in the Charlotte market, make Midland sites very desirable. We saw this recently when Intertape Polymer Group announced they would open their first North Carolina facility in Midland – a $49M advanced manufacturing plant that will pay wages above the Cabarrus County average.
Q: What are some of the other infrastructure and access benefits of Midland?
A: We have excellent access to I-485, as well as I-85 and I-77 if a company depends on truck freight. We are within 30 miles of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and 30 miles of Concord Regional Airport if employees travel by air or if companies have a corporate jet. You can locate in Midland and be within a short distance of those assets.
Q: Midland made the news this summer when the Rocky River Blueway was featured in an Our State article as being one of the top under-the-radar kayaking spots in North Carolina. Can you tell us more about this notable recognition?
A: Midland is located on the Rocky River and we have a great 5-mile paddle trail, including a section of light rapids. It’s a lot of fun and we have had great reviews. Many people are just now discovering it. If you like to stay dry, we have a new 1.7 mile walking trail at Pharr Family Preserve Trail that follows along the Rocky River. Great for taking your dogs out for walk. Many are just now discovering the trail as well.
Q: Can you discuss Midland’s Land Use/Master Plan?
A: Town leaders had the foresight a decade ago to realize growth was on its way. They decided to get ahead of the curve and plan for it. Local leaders and citizens came together to decide where and how growth would be allowed, and they devised an excellent plan that has served as our guide for the last several years. It’s great to see everyone’s vision begin to come to fruition.
Q: How is construction progressing at Rob Wallace Park?
A: We are so excited to be the home of the county’s largest (190 acres) and newest park. The first phase is under construction and is on track to open first quarter of 2017. Everyone should come see it to help walk off those extra holiday pounds.