Happy Fourth of July!!!! Our offices will be closed on July 4th in celebration of our Nations' Birthday.  We will open back up again on July 5th!!!!  Be safe out there folks and Happy Birthday America!
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July 3, 2017
Contact: Scott Dadson, Executive Director
828-287-2281, ext. 250


Please visit the new project website for the Isothermal Regional Bicycle Plan. Learn all about the plan and provide your input through the online survey, public input map, and upcoming events:

IPDC Building Project

In the FY 17-18 Budget for the IPDC, we have included costs for a study of the IPDC offices at 111 West Court Street  in Rutherfordton.  This study, which is being conducted by Stephan Allan of Solutions for Local Governments, concerns itself with the physical rating of the building, the layout of the current uses, and programmatic needs of the organization.  The Board of Directors will receive a final report in the fall regarding these issues as well as options for the IPDC to consider in moving forward.  

"We want to be able to see what the optimum use and layout of the building could and should be as well as understanding the interim steps to getting there" said Scott Dadson, Executive Director of the IPDC.  "The Board owns this building and it sits in a prominent place in Rutherfordton's Downtown.  How we engage with the downtown community is as important as our function as an organization that is here to serve the larger membership.  What the possibilities are for this building are only limited by the role that our membership sees us playing in working to improve the quality of public services provided by them as well." 

As this review moves forward, staff will engage the Board, the Town of Rutherfordton, and other partners in the next steps.  
Housing Programs here at IPDC

The IPDC operates as a  Housing Authority for the four county region of Polk, Rutherford, Cleveland and McDowell.  Specifically, the IPDC administers the Section 8 Rental Assistance program for all four countys. The IPDC operates offices in Rutherfordton, Marion and Shelby to assist clients and landlords.  The main office is housed in the IPDC offices in Rutherfordton.

The Commission is designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a Public Housing Authority (PHA) for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program.  A total of 1,383 regular vouchers are currently allocated to the region.  In addition, the Program has ten (10) Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers which are administered similarly to the Section 8 vouchers.  The Commission develops a five-year and annual plan identifying the HCV programs and policies which are made available for public review/comment and subsequent approval of the Board of Directors.
The Commission’s responsibilities under this program include the full range of administrative and fiscal tasks; including but not limited to application intake, determination of initial and ongoing eligibility, unit inspections, initiating contracts, annual re-certifications and monthly housing assistance payments to landlords and utility providers.
The Section 8 funding formula is calculated from average rental assistance and utility payments reported to HUD for the preceding 12-month calendar year period.  Anticipated revenues for FY 17-18 total $6,482,496, a decrease of $477,136 from the initial FY 2017 budget, and include $5,696,432 for voucher payments.
Ethan Allen plans to upgrade facility, hire more people

By MIKE CONLEY nconley@mcdowellnews.comTop of Form
Now after receiving an almost $200,000 state grant, the manager of the Ethan Allen plant in Old Fort said he is looking forward to making some updates and hiring new people in a variety of positions in the near future.

Last week, the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) approved 14 grant requests totaling $4.5 million. One of these was a $195,462 building reuse grant for the 500,000-square-foot Ethan Allen facility on East Main Street in Old Fort.

Ethan Allen manufactures high-end home furnishings and has seven facilities in North Carolina and approximately 300 design centers in the U.S. and abroad. This project will create new 16 jobs, according to a news release from the N.C. Department of Commerce.

“The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/or expand buildings occupied by existing North Carolina companies, and renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that will lead to the creation of new jobs in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties (which are the most economically distressed) and in rural Census tracts of Tier 3 counties,” reads the news release.

Plant Manager Larry Papula said this grant money will be used to make upgrades to the plant’s boiler system and other areas.

“The project involves an upgrade to our boiler controls, boiler wiring and piping, electrical distribution panels, and a new control room,” he said to The McDowell News. “The project will replace older controls and equipment allowing for a safer operating environment for the boiler operator, greatly improve the reliability of the boiler, and provide for a more controlled and efficient boiler operation.”

Papula added the plant’s boiler reuses wood waste created in the manufacturing process to produce steam. This steam is used to heat the plant in the winter, dry green lumber to furniture grade specifications and provide heat to the finishing ovens for drying finishes.

During the next year, a variety of new jobs will be created throughout the Ethan Allen facility. These new jobs will include boiler operator, maintenance mechanic, assembly clamp operator, case fitter, sprayer, CNC machine center operator, lead person, edge sander, drawer cell technician and packaging and preparation positions.

This $195,462 grant was made possible with the cooperation of the McDowell Economic Development Association (MEDA) and the McDowell County Commissioners.

“We greatly appreciate the investment that Ethan Allen is making and the additional jobs that will be created,” said MEDA Executive Director Chuck Abernathy. “The investment is a very positive indicator for the community. Also, I want to thank the County Commissioners for meeting the financial match and county staff for their support.”

“We are proud to have a stable North American manufacturing base, which, since 1949, has included the state of North Carolina, a state where we plan to continue strengthening our operations,” said Farooq Kathwari, Ethan Allen’s chairman and CEO.

Ethan Allen is a leading interior design company and manufacturer and retailer of quality home furnishings. The company offers complimentary interior design service to its clients and sells a full range of furniture products and decorative accessories through and a network of approximately 300 design centers in the United States and abroad. Ethan Allen owns and operates nine manufacturing facilities, including six manufacturing plants and one sawmill in the United States plus, one plant each in Mexico and Honduras. Approximately seventy five percent of its products are made in its North American plants, according to information from the company.

Marion Receives Grant to support New Holiday Inn

In addition, the city of Marion received an economic infrastructure $60,000 grant to support the development of the 30-acre site near I-40 in Marion to accommodate construction of a 70-room Holiday Inn Express by Sahas Hospitality, LLC.
Workforce Challenges in Region C

In our discussions with industry leaders, employers of different kinds, and economic development folks, finding workers is often the theme of the day.  Helping Employers find employees and Employees find skills, jobs and pathways is one of the primary functions of the Region C Workforce Board here at IPDC.  The issue of finding qualified or trainable employees is quickly rising to the top of the priority list for us here in Region C.  But Filling jobs is not necessarily a clean and clear pathway for employers or employees.   “Even in the midst of a prolonged economic expansion with a low national unemployment rate, jobs are not always available and not everyone who wants work can find it. Both job availability and demographics vary markedly around the country, yielding diverse local populations wanting and/or needing work.”   This is the opening salvo of a recent report by the Brooking Institute that explores the marketplace of employees and what issues and strategies might exist, even in our rural area here in North Carolina.  This report can be found at: 

In a presentation to the IPDC Board at their quarterly Meeting this past June in Cleveland County, Steve Lockett, Director of Economic, Community, and Workforce Development presented an overview of where we work and the majority of the Workforce in the four county region work outside of Region C.

If you would like, you can go to a website [ commute to work] which shows a moving graphic per state and county as to where people leave every day for work.  The major reason for leaving?  Higher wages in surrounding regions, which include Charlotte, Hickory, Asheville, and South Carolina Upstate.  But there is more to the story that wages and the Brooking Institute article shows us some in depth studies into what motivates an individual in today's labor marketplace. 

Your Region C Workforce Board has discussed these issues at a regional level and shared these reports in a series of presentations on the Region C Labor Market  and how the Region C Workforce Board operates to the benefit of the employers and employees in Polk, Rutherford, McDowell, and Cleveland County's [How the Workforce Board Works].  There is a lot of work going on here in Region C.  If you want more information on the various efforts here in Region C, check out the Workforce Boards web site at [Region C Workforce Board ].
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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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