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BJ DRYE COLUMN: The dream is becoming a reality

A little more than 100 years after one company made a life-changing decision for one local community, another company is doing a similar action.

B.J. Drye

Much like Alcoa did in the 1910s for Badin, Charlotte Pipe will be a strong catalyst for the sustainability and growth of Oakboro.

Even though it was the “worst kept secret,” as many leaders have referred to it, the announcement of Charlotte Pipe officially being the company in Project Blue Sky has been the bright news the county has been waiting on for more than a decade.

I know of the philanthropic efforts by Alcoa, but I can’t speak from experience of an Alcoa worker or family.

I do know what it meant when Stanly Knitting Mills closed in Oakboro. Even though my mom was no longer employed there when it closed, she did still know many of the employees. Many of them she has kept in touch with over the years. Some of them I have even grown to know from working at the SNAP.

It hurts when one of the main engines of a town shuts down, and it is even bigger deal if it’s the only engine in town, such as Alcoa.

For Charlotte Pipe, one of the biggest economic newsmakers, to be announced during the worst pandemic in over 100 years, it does a hurt our ego a bit.

If we were not dealing with COVID-19, there probably would have been an even bigger announcement, quite possibly with the governor.

Even if you don’t agree with him politically, it’s a big deal when the governor comes to town.

But Charlotte Pipe is not the only big economic news we have heard about in the last few weeks.

Fiberon will upgrade and expand its manufacturing operations and facility in New London, with an investment of more than $20 million over the next three years.

Nabell USA plans to invest at least $2.9 million at its Albemarle facility.

All of these economic boosts, along with the opening of the Pfeiffer University health campus in downtown Albemarle, are steering us in the right direction.

If we can now just get rid of this stupid virus, instead of being on the losing side to surrounding counties landing major manufacturing, maybe Stanly County will be on the winning side.

The pipe dream is over.

It is a reality.

B.J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Call 704-982-2123, or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.