06/18/2024
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A staff report

Nestled within the Inner Coastal Plain region of North Carolina, Bladen County emerges as a picturesque embodiment of rural charm and agricultural bounty. With its rich, sandy soil, the county is recognized as one of the state’s prime farmlands, offering a serene backdrop for growth and prosperity in various aspects of life. As the third-largest county in North Carolina, covering 879 square miles, Bladen County prides itself on being a safe, welcoming community that cherishes its outdoor amenities and embraces a growing rural atmosphere.

A Community Rooted in Tradition and Nature

Bladen County’s history as the “Mother County” is palpable in the deep-rooted traditions and simple joys of knowing one’s neighbors. Its residents find solace in the beauty of the familiar, fostering a sense of comfort and predictability. The county’s landscape is adorned with natural treasures, including the Cape Fear, South, and Black Rivers, which have historically provided transportation for agricultural products, boosting local trade and economy.

Tory Hole park features a hiking trail, a disc golf course and views to the Cape Fear river.

The diverse geography of Bladen County, highlighted by the Bladen Lakes State Forest and the mysterious Carolina Bays, believed to be created by ancient meteor strikes, affirms its nickname as ‘Mother Nature’s Playground.’ Terri Dennison with the Town of Elizabethtown, celebrates the county’s outdoor recreational assets, from the refreshing waters of White Lake to the extensive bike and hiking trails that attract adventurers and nature lovers alike.

Fostering Economic and Community Growth

Despite facing challenges such as hurricane devastations, the resilient spirit of Bladen County shines through in its rebuilding efforts. Initiatives like the demolition and redevelopment of Bladenboro’s old buildings into new retail spaces, and community-driven events like the Beast Festival, showcase the county’s determination to revitalize and enhance its local economy.

Bladenboro Best Fest 2024.

Moreover, Bladen County’s strategic focus on attracting veterans and supporting small manufacturing businesses and entrepreneurs reflects a comprehensive approach to economic development. The establishment of Bladen’s Bloomin’ Agri-Industrial Inc., a rural development organization, demonstrates the county’s commitment to assisting small businesses with low-interest loans, thereby fueling economic vibrancy.

A Vision for the Future

The collaborative efforts between Bladen County Economic Development and various partners, including the North Carolina Department of Commerce, have paved the way for significant infrastructure investments. The Elizabethtown Airport Industrial Park stands as a testament to successful rural industrial development, housing six industrial incubators that have consistently attracted business, demonstrating the county’s capability to nurture and grow the industry.

Central to this vision is the development of a Live-Work-Play complex within the industrial park, promising a harmonious blend of industry, tourism, and healthcare. This initiative, along with the allure of local wineries like Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery and Lu Mil Vineyard, further enriches Bladen County’s appeal as a destination for both residents and visitors.

Lu Mil Vineyard.

A Place to Live, Work, and Play

With its strategic plan and collective ambition, Bladen County stands poised to continue its legacy as a thriving, resilient community. Its commitment to infrastructure, education, and promotion aims to create local success stories, enriching the lives of its diverse residents. Bladen County embodies the essence of living, working, and playing in harmony with nature, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a vibrant rural lifestyle amidst North Carolina’s natural beauty.

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