Apr. 11—LUMBERTON — Site Selection magazine has ranked Lumberton as one the country's Top 10 Micropolitans.
The ranking is determined by the number of major industry projects completed or underway in the year 2021 by an urban area with a population of at least 10,000 but no greater than 50,000.
"It's nothing we applied for or solicited in anyway," said Channing Jones, Robeson County's economic development director. "It's simply a recognition of what's happening."
According to the ranking, Lumberton was one of four micropolitans listed that reported a total of seven projects that meet Site Selection's standards. In the previous year of 2020, the city ranked number 32 for projects accomplished.
The magazine classifies projects as a new construction or expansion that employees 20 people, covers 20,000 square footage or more and/or showcases a $1 million or more investment in construction cost, land or building. Project types may include the construction or expansion of manufacturing facilities, offices, distribution warehouses, data centers, headquarters or research development or call centers.
The City of Lumberton and Robeson County most recently broke ground $28 million Industrial Park in December of 2021. The park, located adjacently to Interstate 95 and Interstate 74, will house the Elkay Manufacturing Company, which will employ 20 people.
Robeson County officials also held a grand opening in December for the newly renovated Robeson County Administrator Center, now located in downtown Lumberton.
The building, formerly the headquarters of Southern National Bank, now houses Robeson County's veterans services, tax department, computer operations, register of deeds, human resources, county attorney, and county manager's office along with the district office of U.S. Representative Dan Bishop.
"It's very exciting," Jones said. "It's very exciting for the Lumberton community. It's very exciting for Robeson County as a whole to see this level of economic activity happening in our county and in the city of Lumberton, especially after the city undergoing two hurricanes and a pandemic. To see the resiliency of our community and the health of our economy continue to be display in a very positive way is just tremendous."
Although seven projects were recognized by Site Selection, the City of Lumberton has dozens of projects in the pipeline, according to Lumberton Mayor Bruce Davis, thanks to the work of City Manager Wayne Horne, Deputy City Manager Brandon Love and City Attorney Holt Moore.
Projects include the nearly $10 million Tanglewood Drainage Project geared toward mitigating flooding in the Tanglewood community.
"We go to work every morning and we work on something," Mayor Bruce Davis told The Robesonian. "We either working on one (project), finishing one or looking for one, and it makes a huge difference obviously. I just want the public to know that we have been working hard and we've been very successful in our projects. I am sure glad to be there and be a part of it."
Jones said he looks forwards to continuing the good luck streak.
"To the City of Lumberton and to our economic development affiliates and partners I just really want to say congratulations and we look forward to keeping this positive momentum going," Jones said.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-416-5865.