N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition Continues Steps to Bridge Urban and Rural Communities
The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition Board of Directors adopted a focus on building bridges between urban and rural communities in 2017. They started the year in conversations with the N.C. Rural Center exploring how each organization views economic development across our State and learning from one another. Those conversations led to a joint op ed calling for a focus on how urban and rural communities are linked as economic regions and a shared desire to chart an economic pathway that benefits all of us.
To learn more about our State’s rural regions the Metro Mayors embarked on a down east bus tour in May visiting Greenville and Kinston. Greenville Mayor Thomas and Kinston Mayor Murphy led the large city Mayors on a tour of their successful economic development initiatives and talking with their fellow mayors and city managers about the challenges the region faces. The Mayors were impressed with all the two cities have done to invest in infrastructure, attract a high-quality workforce, and build stronger partnerships with local businesses as catalysts for job growth.
Upon returning from the May meeting the Metro Mayors talked about how they could continue to work with Kinston and Mayor Murphy as the city is not yet large enough for membership in the Coalition. After conversations between the Metro Mayors leadership, Mayor Murphy and City Manager Tony Sears the Metro Mayors are pleased to announce a pilot program dubbed Sister City in NC where the Metro Mayors Coalition will work in partnership with the City of Kinston to build a bridge between our State’s urban and rural regions.
“The Metro Mayors Coalition was founded on the principle of building stronger relationships between large city mayors. We have all seen the benefits of the relationships we have formed through this organization and want to grow an equally strong relationship with Mayor Murphy and the City of Kinston,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, Chair of the Metro Mayors Coalition.
Through the partnership, Mayor Murphy will continue his interactions with the large city mayors by participating in our meetings where our Mayors share challenges and best practices with one another and through those interactions build stronger relationships with one another. The City of Kinston’s city manager and department heads will have similar opportunities with their peers in Metro Mayors Coalition cities.
“The Metro Mayors Coalition is to be commended for proactively learning the concerns of rural North Carolina,” said Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy. “Kinston is at a great crossroads with incredible momentum and opportunity, yet challenges that are tough to face alone. We are honored to partner with the Metro Mayors Coalition’s via the Sister City initiative to build a stronger city and better North Carolina.”
The North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, founded in 2001, is comprised of the mayors of the state’s larger cities, with more than three million citizens. The Coalition is a non-partisan, mayor-driven organization that focuses on issues of special interest to our large cities in a fast-growing and urbanizing state. The Coalition has worked successfully with federal and state elected officials to promote job creation, protect local revenues, invest in public infrastructure, and keep our cities safe.