Mayors across state tour economic development in Greenville, Kinston

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Mayors from large cities across North Carolina visited Greenville Thursday as part of a tour of eastern North Carolina designed to highlight investments being made in transportation, downtown development, and parks to stimulate private investment.

“We’re connected by our state,” said Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

The tour is organized by the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition.

The goal was to bridge the gap between urban and rural and demonstrate Charlotte and Kinston are more alike than you may think.

“Working together is really key if you’re going to have good government across your state,” said Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas. “You need your communities communicating and…at the bottom line, bring jobs and opportunity.”

What happens in the west affects the east and in order for everyone to understand that concept you have to know what’s going on in each region.

“We’re taking the opportunity to bring them down east, eastern North Carolina and show them what this region is all about,” Thomas said.

That trip east included a visit to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium at East Carolina University.

“A number of these mayors went to Chapel Hill or NC State, and I don’t remember the last time that we lost to them in football, so I just wanted to rub it in a little bit,” Thomas said.

The tour included a visit to the innovation lab, Vidant, and Uptown.

The last stop of the day was Mother Earth in Kinston

“Having successful breweries is really a necessary seed to growing your economy,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer.

A number of North Carolina cities have their own breweries, and a bill which would have increased the production cap was shot down in a House committee.

Brewers are only allowed to make 25,000 barrels of beer a year without having to bring in a wholesaler.

They want it raised to 200,000.

Manheimer says limiting the production cap is a step in the wrong direction.

“Anything the state can do to tear down the barriers for companies like this to thrive and grow is an important step in sustaining a strong economy in North Carolina,” Manheimer said.

Two Charlotte breweries are fighting back with a lawsuit claiming the production limit is unconstitutional and stifles competition.

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