Most people who work in our community work for UNC. UNC is a great anchor to our local economy, and our community would not exist without it at the cultural and economic center of our community. But it alone cannot sustain our community’s needs.

Because of past decisions made by former elected officials in the 1980s and 1990s, our community lost out on business and retail opportunities to neighboring Durham. These decisions have created an unsustainable revenue stream for our local governments, because we have so few commercial properties and very little sales tax revenue.

Policy Ideas + Solutions

To shift away from this unsustainable structure, our community must work to create new jobs for people from all walks of life. We need to implement policies to create new business spaces for all kinds of work from retail to technology to life sciences to the arts. Diversifying the types of jobs in our community will enable UNC graduates to stay and work in our community, contributing to our local economy, while at the same time providing jobs that will allow longtime residents to sustain their families. More jobs and more business spaces will also help us attract young professionals and young entrepreneurs to our community, increasing our vibrancy and providing amenities all residents can enjoy. 

In addition we need to allow more commercial development in locations where public transit can easily be accessed by nearby residents. When the rural buffer was established in 1987, the goal was to prevent sprawl and focus more concentrated development in town. We should provide more commercial and mixed-use development that includes different types of work spaces that will benefit residents across the economic spectrum. 

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