Strategic Initiatives

The Office of Strategy helps to lead and partners with community organizations on strategic initiatives and projects in New Hanover County.

Intelligent Growth & Economic Development

Blue Clay Road Business Park

In 2008, New Hanover County purchased approximately 120 acres of property adjacent to the detention facility on Blue Clay Road for future expansion of the jail and court system. Due to efficiencies gained in jail diversion programs, it was determined this property was no longer needed for this purpose. So, almost ten years later, the county initiated a due diligence study to determine if the market would support the site being converted into a business park and a supporting master plan for the site. The plan for development was completed and the site became a part of the Duke site readiness program in 2019. 

Utilizing resources that were made available with the American Rescue Plan, the county was able to initiate the design and construction of important water and sewer infrastructure as well as access roads that turned 120 acres of property into a full-scale business park with rail access. Working with economic development partner Wilmington Business Development, the county is working to sell parcels within the business park to businesses looking to expand or relocate to New Hanover County. This project is currently underway with infrastructure anticipated to be complete in early 2024.

Project Grace

New Hanover County is in the unique position of owning an entire city-block in downtown Wilmington. This block currently includes a New Hanover County Library and a 640-space parking garage, but a large portion of the block is underutilized. The vision for this block is to house a modern public library and Cape Fear Museum, better utilize the parking garage, and include private space for retail, residential, office, or hotel opportunities. 

In July 2017, a feasibility study was conducted outlining a path forward and, working with development teams, the county has designed a public facility for the library and museum. The project continues to evolve, with potential private development that can help transform the downtown block. For more information about the project, which is expected to move forward in 2023, please view the Project Grace page.

US 421 Water & Sewer Extension

New Hanover County worked with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and other partners to extend water and sewer service along the U.S. Highway 421 corridor. This expansion, completed December 2019, brings new development opportunities, more jobs, and economic growth for to this region.

Small Business Economic Incentive Grant Program

County Management / Finance / Office of Strategy – Small Business Economic Incentive Grant Program

Superior Education & Workforce Development

PaSS Program with Communities in Schools Cape Fear

New Hanover County continues to partner with Communities in Schools of Cape Fear to mentor third and fourth-grade students in preparation for their End of Grade tests through their PaSS Program. Employees from the county's SERVE Professional Development Academy participate and tutor students through the program, which provides volunteer opportunities for mentors to be paired with a student who is at risk of not reading at grade level. County employees and students meet once a week for 10 weeks to read one-on-one and practice reading comprehension skills.

Teacher Incentives

Teacher incentives for kindergarten through third grade teachers in hard‐to‐staff schools to receive National Board Certification, a reading training program for teachers working in schools with the greatest disparity in student performance, and a Workforce Housing Gap Rental Assistance Program to alleviate the housing cost burden for 12 teachers in hard-to-staff schools. These incentives are designed to retain teachers in hard to staff schools and provide consistency to students


New Hanover County is partnering with Port City United, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, New Hanover County Schools, and Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) on an apprenticeship program to develop a workforce pipeline from our local high schools to successful careers and professional readiness.