The Friends of the Down East Library will host Carteret County Economic Development Director Don Kirkman for a presentation on the effect future Interstate 42 may have on Carteret County.
Nearly all of NC Highway 70 – from Raleigh to the eastern border of Craven County – will be upgraded to I-42 by the end of the decade.
The presentation will be Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 6:30 pm at the Down East Public Library in Otway.
Kirkman will speak on the expected growth of the permanent resident population and visitors, which will have significant impacts on traffic and public services.
“It is important for the county’s unincorporated communities to come together to engage in planning to both benefit from the opportunities and lessen the risks presented by this new interstate highway,” said Down East Library Friend and Davis resident, Susan DeWitt Wilder.
Kirkman has previously cited the example of population growth in Brunswick County after Interstate 40 was completed in 1990.
In that year, Carteret and Brunswick Counties both had populations of around 50,000 residents. By 2018, Brunswick County almost tripled in size to 130,000 residents, while Carteret County’s population grew to 68,000 during that time.
“What we have to do now, and I’m glad we have time, is to focus on managing that growth in a way that will not jeopardize the quality of life that…. [is] one of the reasons to live here,” Kirkman told the Carteret County News Times last December.
Kirkman was Executive Director of the Carteret County Economic Development Council from 1990-2000. He then served as President of a 16-county regional economic development organization for Florida’s panhandle and as Executive Director of the Hilton Head Island Economic Development Corporation before returning to this position in Carteret County in 2017.
He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and a Past President of the North Carolina Economic Development Association.