Last Friday afternoon, the Centralina Council of Governments hosted its annual Region of Excellence Awards Luncheon at The Speedway Club to recognize innovative government initiatives, leaders and municipalities in the Charlotte Region. Of the six awards given across the CCOG’s nine county region, three went to Gaston County governments and organizations for their combined efforts in improving quality of life, growing the economy, and pursuing clean and sustainable solutions to reduce emissions, cut costs, and improve air quality.
CCOG is an organization that devotes itself to working with governmental partners across the region to grow the regional economy and create jobs, improve the quality of life, and control the cost of government. At the Region of Excellence Awards luncheon, CCOG recognized the Greater Gaston Development Corporation (GGDC) and its Municipal Partners, the City of Mount Holly, and Gaston County Government for three specific projects.
A public-private initiative formed by the Greater Gaston Development Corp., Gaston County and 8 Gaston County cities and towns was the 2018 recipient of the “Growing the Economy Award.” This county-wide collaborative recently finalized the Gaston County CLT Airport Connected Economic Positioning Strategy. This innovative economic development approach will guide how Gaston County and its constituent municipalities can better leverage the county’s close proximity to the Charlotte Airport to grow Gaston’s economy. Executive Director of the GGDC Mark Cramer, Chairman of the GGDC Greg Botner, Immediate Past Chairman of the GGDC Joel Long, and Gastonia City Manager Michael Peoples received the award on behalf of the public-private group, which had many other representatives in attendance at the awards luncheon.
The City of Mount Holly won the “Quality of Life Award” for its work on the Riverfront Greenway Expansion Project. Working since 2003 with community partners to develop the greenway and recently opening another segment (1.6 miles long) of it along the Catawba River near the Mountain Island Dam, the City of Mt. Holly received the award for its continued progress in improving the quality of life for its residents and visitors. The City of Mt. Holly plans to continue developing other segments of the green line in the near future. Mayor Bryan Hough, City Manager Danny Jackson, Assistant City Manager Miles Braswell, and City Planner Greg Beal received the award on behalf of Mt. Holly.
The Gaston County Government won the “Clean Cities Award” for its progress and leadership in transitioning over 40 of its government vehicles from using petroleum fuel to using a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly liquid propane gas bi-fuel system. After seeking out and winning grant money to help fund the transition to using cleaner energy for transportation, Gaston County Government has already saved $400,000 through using this alternative energy to run many of the vehicles in its fleet. Gaston County Commissioners Ronnie Worley and Bob Hovis and Gaston County Manger Earl Mathers received the award on behalf of Gaston County.
Mark Cramer remarked after the ceremony that “the outstanding success that Gaston County achieved at this CCOG awards luncheon and the great turnout of our county and municipal officials and business leaders certainly show that Gaston County is making great strides through collaboration, innovation and commitment.”