Central Park NC

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It all started when…

Originally known as the Yadkin-Pee Dee Lakes Project, Central Park NC was formed in 1993 by a consensus of leaders from the region to develop a strategy to preserve the natural and cultural assets of central North Carolina, using them to create a sustainable local economy. In 2000, Central Park NC published "A Strategy for North Carolina's Central Park" – a blueprint for the development of a new economy for our region based on heritage and cultural tourism development and outdoor recreation opportunities. The region includes Anson, Stanly, Richmond, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Davidson and Rowan counties. STARworks is a project of Central Park NC.

The Central Park strategy focuses on small businesses development complementary to heritage and cultural tourism, and also developing the regional infrastructure for increasing overnight tourism. According to studies conducted by Appalachian State University and the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte, the implementation of this strategy will result in a doubling of overnight visitation to the region from 20% to 40% by focusing on scenic natural areas, driving/sightseeing, nature walks, historic sites, and zoos/wildlife observation, and will create an additional 25,000 jobs above the benchmark forecast and an incremental positive net economic impact of $2.1 billion per year.

In 2005, Central Park NC began STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise in a former hosiery mill in the small town of Star.

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote a new economy based on the sustainable use of the natural and cultural resources of the Central Park NC region, encompassing Anson, Davidson, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan, and Stanly counties. 

Central Park NC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Central Park NC is a GuideStar Gold Participant. Click here to view our GuideStar report.

Our Location

Our small towns are nestled in the forests and near pastures of the ancient Uwharrie Mountains. Our eight counties surround the Yadkin-Pee Dee River and its chain of sparkling lakes. We live in close proximity to numerous growing metropolitan areas - Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, NC and Spartanburg and Florence SC - yet enjoy a quality and pace of life that sets us worlds apart. 

Our Strategy

Our strategy focuses on small businesses development complementary to heritage and cultural tourism, and also developing the regional infrastructure for increasing overnight tourism. According to studies conducted by Appalachian State University and the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte, the implementation of this strategy will result in a doubling of overnight visitation to the region from 20% to 40% by focusing on scenic natural areas, driving/sightseeing, nature walks, historic sites, and zoos/wildlife observation, and will create an additional 25,000 jobs above the benchmark forecast and an incremental positive net  economic impact of $2.1 billion per year.

Our Board of Directors

  • Melinda Baran - Certified Financial Planner, Retired
  • Eddie Bernard (Secretary) - Founder, Wet Dog Glass, LLC
  • Guy Cornman, III - Planning Director, Davidson County Planning Department
  • Pat Corso - Executive Director, Moore County Partners in Progress
  • Monty Crump - Manager, City of Rockingham
  • Virginia R. Dunn (Treasurer) - VBR Capital Solutions
  • Dr. Gary Ferraro - Retired, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, UNCC
  • L. Annette Foster - President, LA Foster & Associates, LLC, IT & Business Process Consulting
  • Eric Henry - President, T.S. Designs
  • Dr. David Jones (Chair) - Director, NC Zoological Park, Retired
  • J. Scott Kittrell - Financial Advisor, ParsecFinancial
  • Erin Reitz - Owner & Creative Director of The Shelter Collection, Designer, Alabama Chanin
  • Ricardo Romero - Assistant Vice President, First Bank
  • Jesse Tall - Resident Director, Eckerd Youth Alternatives
  • Harold Van Derveer - Sandy Ridge Memory Care