Next Board Meeting
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October 14, 2019
Contact: Scott Dadson, Executive Director
828-287-2281, ext. 250


Upcoming Meetings and Events

Housing in the Isothermal Region

Invitation to Isothermal Housing Summit

In the Isothermal Region, Owner-occupied home percentages fell from 66.51% in 2000 to 57.37% in 2016.

The Isothermal Regional Commission will hold its first Regional Housing Summit, scheduled for November 7th, 8:30 to 1:00 pm with a $5 lunch, here in Rutherfordton at the Rutherfordton Club House on 210 Clubhouse Dr, Rutherfordton, NC 28139. Our Region includes the Counties of Polk, Rutherford, McDowell, and Cleveland and the towns within same.  Many of our local member governments have identified housing as a major issue in their jurisdiction.  Here at the Commission, we administer the Housing Choice Voucher program for all of the Counties in our region and are a Housing Authority under the Housing and Urban Development program. 

But what is the housing issue? While many of us deal in the area of affordability, senior housing and the like, the “housing issue” lacks a focused definition.  Is the issue home repairs for needy families, available housing, workforce housing, tract housing, middle housing, and the age of current housing stock?  All surface as part of the conversation.  For most, Affordable housing is defined as housing affordable for a household with income of up to eighty percent (80%) of area median income (AMI), and moderate income housing is defined as housing affordable for a household with income that is greater than eighty percent (80%), but not more than one hundred twenty percent (120%) AMI.

There are 109,612 housing units in the Isothermal Region.  14.24% or 15,608 units were built after 2000. 51.44% or 56,381 units were built before 1980.

We would like to get this conversation started and defined at the regional level and we would like your help in this matter.  We are inviting NGO Housing advocates and groups, PHA’s, Regional government managers, planners and elected officials, Health Department, Social Services, Real Estate Agents, Developers, Federal and State Partners to include NC Housing Finance and NC Dept of Commerce, Transportation Planners and providers, Hospitals and other Health Care Providers, Workforce partners, industries, Tourism Folks, Chambers to attend this event and share in the discussion regarding this topic.

In the Isothermal Region, the median income is $47,550. So, 80% of AMI is $39,640 to 120% of AMI is $59,460.

Our Agenda will include a presentation of Isothermal Region Housing Data (study done in 2019), presentation on the Affordable Housing Data, and break-out discussion.

 To RSVP to this event, please click here to respond to the invitation.

If you have any comments or questions regarding this event, please feel free to contact Scott Dadson, Executive Director at 828-287-2281 or at  
We need your input!
There is still time to respond to our Affordable Housing Survey.  Responses to this survey will contribute to our discussions at the housing summit.  Please respond whether or not you plan on attending the event: 

Business Courses Coming to Polk County this October


The Foothills Launch initative is excited to be offering two of Mountain BizWorks flagship courses, Foundations & Alpine, in Polk County this October. Foundations, which meets once a week for 6 weeks, is a great fit for those trying to go from concept to creation. Alpine, which meets once a week for 5 weeks, is perfect for existing business owners seeking ways to streamline, strengthen, and ensure their business is making the right critical decisions. 

Learn more and register here! 

Regional Sessions to Inform the NC Strategic Economic Development Plan


Eight Locations Across NC - including Lenoir on October 29

On behalf of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government will host eight regional sessions to collect input from stakeholders across the state that will inform North Carolina’s Strategic Economic Development Plan. A session is available in each of the state’s prosperity zones. Please click here to see a complete list of regional sessions and register for the one you choose to attend.

For more information about this project and what you can expect at the regional sessions, please watch this brief video.

The regional sessions will be critical to creating the state’s new strategic economic development plan, which will guide policymakers and practitioners in their work to generate more economic prosperity to the state. We want to hear from you about what works in your region and what additional supports from the state could maximize opportunities. We expect rich discussions with a gathering of diverse stakeholders.                   

Lunch will be provided. Registration is free, but please register for the regional session you select. Capacity is limited. Once we reach capacity, we will maintain a waiting list and release spaces as they become available. If for any reason you need to change sessions or cannot attend, please email Toogie Hampton at so we can accommodate those on the waiting list.  

Please share this invitation with other individuals who may be interested in participating. We look forward to seeing you this fall in your region.

Regional News

Three Open Positions at IPDC

We are now accepting applications for three open positions.  You can find more information about the newly created Safe Routes to School Coordinator position, the Finance Director, and Project Manager open positions on our Employment Opportunities page.  Feel free to share with anyone who may be interested in applying! 

Small Business Success in Cleveland County

The Foothills Launch Cleveland County Pop-Up office has experienced successes! We are excited to announce the opening of Renfer Bagel Co. Grab a bagel and a coffee and check out their downtown Boiling Springs Location. Throughout the opening of the Cleveland County Pop-up Office, 45 businesses were assisted, 20 full-time jobs were either created or retained, and 8 businesses were either started or expanded! We are excited to continue to see this certified entrepreneurial community thrive!   

Learn more about Renfer Bagel here! 

$50,000 ARC grant to the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission in Rutherfordton, NC for the WNC Works: Recovery to Careers program.
$50,000 ARC grant to the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission in Rutherfordton, NC for the WNC Works: Recovery to Careers program. The project will assist the six western North Carolina Local Development Districts (LDD) in coordinating existing regional organizations and programs that promote “Recovery to Work” strategies for individuals recovering from substance abuse. The project will compile a database of existing recovery-to- work programs, survey best practices across all 29 western North Carolina counties, and start a regional recovery-to-work working group made up of representatives from each LDD. The goal is to boost utilization of existing programs, increase the number of individuals returning to work, and help meet employer workforce needs in high-demand occupations and sectors.
To read more about this multi-regional effort with the other ARC Councils of Government, click here.
Conference provides insight on how rural communities across Carolina's can recruit business

There is hope and perhaps even an acknowledged advantage to recruiting business and industry to rural areas in the Carolinas. But small communities must change their recruiting messages and tactics to attract members of the millennial and Gen Z generations.
Those were some of the messages this week from an Energizing Rural NC session in Sanford hosted by the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
Patience Fairbrother, development associate with the Development Counsellors International, cited Cleveland County’s "Charlotte’s Backyard NC" campaign that was launched in 2017 to bring manufacturing talent to the Shelby area. Charlotte residents visit the Cleveland County website more often than any other demographic, Fairbrother says.
“We hear about this urban revival,” she says. But a recent DCI study found 22% of respondents said they would most like to live in a rural location, Fairbrother says.
Cleveland County and other rural areas looking to fill open manufacturing jobs are pointing out there will be much more left over from workers’ paychecks if they live and work in a rural area where the cost of living is lower.
Kristin Reese, head of the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership, says the website has received 40,000 visitors in the last two years. She has also logged a “historic high for lead generation” from business and industry after starting the campaign, Fairbrother says. DCI consulted with Cleveland County on the campaign.
“This got them on the national radar,” Fairbrother says of the Cleveland County campaign.
More than 1,500 people attended Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s Energizing Rural NC session in Sanford. That pleased Christopher Chung, head of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. “We hope this conference inspires our attendees to develop grassroots initiatives and partnerships in their own rural communities that support the local workforce pipeline. That’s critical, because talent is the No. 1 concern of companies considering where to locate, expand or even remain.”
In these days of full employment, rural areas are sharing a problem with urban areas, Fairbrother says. All types of population centers — rural, suburban, metropolitan — lack an abundant labor pool. “The workforce is the top concern,” Fairbrother says. “No city, no rural area, no urban area has the talent that companies are looking for.”
In fact, for economic development recruiters acquiring talent is becoming more important that convincing business and industry to build their project in a local venue, Fairbrother says.
“Companies are no longer asking if they (potential sites) have talent,” she says. “They're asking what they are doing to attract talent.”
More and more incentive dollars are going into job training and talent acquisition, Fairbrother says.

Ken Elkins
Senior Staff Writer
Charlotte Business Journal


2019 Influencers in Aging 

Meet Next Avenue’s 2019 Influencers in Aging. These 12 advocates, researchers, thought leaders, innovators, writers and experts continue to push beyond traditional boundaries and change our understanding of what it means to grow older.

Go to the article here.
Thanks to the IPDC Aging Staff for participating in the Hilltop Festival here in Rutherfordton

Economic & Workforce Development

2019 NC Rural Assembly Registration

Click here to view the NC Rural Center's registration page.

Other news in Small Business Sustainability for our friends at the Industrial Commons

 A new effort by the Industrial Commons is "to sustain this region’s manufacturing roots, create jobs and build a healthier community. Today’s customers - your customers - are interested in where their products come from and  the environmental impacts of the manufacturing process. They are  working closely with local manufacturers, the Manufacturing Solutions Center, NC State University School of Textiles and Leigh Fibers to research and develop new solutions for fabric waste that will drive the demand for our region’s recycled fibers. Thier  plan is to have the highest concentration of green manufacturers and re-manufactured products in the U.S. We can provide a great recycling service and make remarkable products, while caring for this place we love.

To find out more about and be involved in the Circular Economy, check out this site by clicking here.

Downtown Shelby Revitalization Garners Attention from UNCC's Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection

Check out the three articles below highlighting downtown Shelby:


OZ Reporting Framework Released
A new Opportunity Zone Framework resource has been released by the US Impact Investing Alliance, the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, and the Federal Reserve of New York.  This resources aims to provide further information on Opportunity Zones, and provides further details on how stakeholders can measure and manage the impact and outcomes they seek to achieve.  To access the resource, please go to:

White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council

The Opportunity Zone tax incentive provides a tremendous way to bring investments, jobs, business expansion, and new business development to your community. In order to amplify the impact of this tax incentive, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council was formed to better coordinate Federal economic development resources in Opportunity Zones and other distressed communities. The Council is exploring the ways in which Federal agencies can better partner with Opportunity Zone investors and provide some of the social services and other support that may be necessary for community revitalization to take place. Communities, investors, and entrepreneurs who want to effect change are not alone in this process.

The following Federal entities comprise the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council:

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of the Treasury
Department of Justice
Department of the Interior
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Labor
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Transportation
Department of Energy
Department of Education
Department of Veterans Affairs
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Management and Budget
Small Business Administration
National Economic Council
Council of Economic Advisors
Council on Environmental Quality
Appalachian Regional Commission
Delta Regional Authority
Northern Border Regional Commission


Seasonal Housing in the Isothermal Region

"In the decennial census, seasonal housing units are those that are classified as vacant for “seasonal, recreational, or occasional use.” These are often referred to as vacation homes.

In the 2010 Census, 3.5% of all housing units nationwide were vacation homes dedicated for seasonal use. In North Carolina, 4.4% of all housing units were for seasonal use. North Carolina had nearly 192,000 vacation homes in 2010, the 7th largest number of all the states."  To read more about the demographics on vacation housing and other housing data by going to Carolina Demography page by clicking here.

For more on our housing statistics, our upcoming Housing Summit, or more information about our Housing Choice Voucher Program just go to our Housing Page by clicking here.

Rural Transportation

Safe Routes to School Coordinator/RPO Planner

The Isothermal Regional Commission has an opening for Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator /RPO Planner in the Isothermal Regional Planning Organization division of the Isothermal Regional Commission.

The Program Coordinator (66% of the time) will carry out the responsibilities and activities of the Safe Routes to School grant on behalf of the Isothermal Rural Planning Organization (IRPO), which is part of the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. This is a full-time, grant-funded, and time-limited position.

Key responsibilities include program development/planning, program administration, marketing/outreach, education and training, event promotion, volunteer coordination, and program evaluation.

Minimum Required experience includes B.A. in Geography, Planning, or related field; 1-3 Years of Experience; and Interest in Multi-modal transportation with a focus on Bike/Ped. Preferred experience and qualifications include: Master’s Degree; 3-5 Years of Experience; Demonstrated skill in one or more of the following:

o Developing educational programs for K-8 grades

o Ability to Work with Partners/Volunteers

o Ability to use GIS or a Strong Willingness to Learn

o Social Media Experience

Position(s) are open until filled with first round of review beginning on November 11, 2019.

Applications are accessed on the Isothermal Planning Commission Website here.  Resume, cover letter, and signed application must be submitted to Karyl Fuller:

Isothermal Planning and Development Commission is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer.

Thank you for subscribing to our regional newsletter!


Isothermal Planning and Development Commission
111 West Court Street Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Phone: (828) 287-2281
Fax: (828) 287-2735

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Isothermal Planning and Development Commission · 111 West Court Street · Post Office Box 841 · Rutherfordton, NC 28139 · USA

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