Aurora Industrial Park hosts open house to entice new investors

AURORA, N.C. (WITN) – A town in the east is looking for investors for their new industrial park. This comes after years of businesses leaving the area.

Aurora Industrial Park has about 16 acres up for sale in a spot that investors feel, offers a lot of opportunity due to its close proximity to Nutrien, the town’s main phosphate operations company.

More than 25 companies and private investors stopped the town’s open house today to learn more on Wednesday with potential investors so far saying that the closeness to Nutrien was the main reason for their interest in the area.

In 2019, the town received $200,000 from the Gold Leaf Foundation and used it for site engineering and due diligence studies of the 32-acre park located on Highway 33. After that the town received a grant from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure of $500,000, and a grant for $750,000 from the North Carolina Industrial Development Fund-Utility Account for the infrastructure and site development of the park.

Beaufort County commissioners then immediately signed on to the project and approved a loan for the town to purchase the land.

Aurora has faced some economic challenges, losing grocery stores and other businesses, but town officials feel the tides are turning.

“I’d like to see the investment start again in the town,” said East Group Senior Civil Engineer Michelle Clements. “We’d like to see them be able to contribute more, have more people here, the families have more opportunities, and every time we add someone to the industrial park, they are going to be adding to the community.”

County leaders say they are excited about what Aurora’s growth means to the area.

“They really need some assistance as far as job production,” said Beaufort County Economic Development Director Brad Hufford. “We have actually our largest employer in the county. Nutrien is home here in Aurora, but we need some more diversification of the economy and also to help Nutrien with some of the vendors and workers out of their facility.”

Beaufort County Community College, Aurora Fire Department, and the company “Bulhed” have all made investments in the new industrial park so far.

Other areas that Aurora is working on to attract more people into the town are revitalizing the historic downtown by establishing a Main Street committee and improving the resilience to climate-related changes due to the town’s location by the water, such as stormwater management.