Rural Planning 

Adding value to rural community economic development efforts through
effective project planning, analysis, and local engagement.


Who We Are

Rural Planning is part of the NC Department of Commerce, the state’s lead agency for workforce, community and economic development. In this capacity, Rural Planning provides technical assistance across the state primarily in the areas of economic development planning. Rural Planning has offices located in the West (Asheville), the Piedmont (Winston-Salem), and the East (Washington). Experienced staff partner with local governments and associated organizations to add value to community and regional economic development efforts.

Services Offered

Whether rural communities are planning future economic expansion, injecting life into existing structures, or developing in an economically challenged area, Rural Planning staff can help them reach their goals through targeted assistance in three core areas: economic development analysis, special projects support, and grant assistance.  

Examples of services and assistance include:

  • Economic development strategic planning
  • Market analysis
  • Mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Specialized programs to maximize community economic opportunities
  • Community economic profiles
  • Project management and logistical support
  • Identification of funding opportunities and grant assistance
  • Review of local development policies for process efficiency and more effective economic investment and development
  • Identification of viable projects, collaborative partnerships, and stakeholders
  • Development of new services or products to meet expressed needs

For further details or to discuss your specific needs, please contact the regional office nearest to your community.

Asheville - Western Regional Office
Karen Smith, Chief Economic Development Planner (828) 251-6914 
ksmith@nccommerce.com 

Washington - Eastern Regional Office
Lee Padrick, Chief Economic Development Planner (252) 974-1308 
lpadrick@nccommerce.com

Winston-Salem - Piedmont Regional Office
Darren Rhodes, Program Manager (336) 776-6727
drhodes@nccommerce.com

Western Regional Office Piedmont Regional Office Central Regional Office Southeastern Regional Office Northeastern Regional Office

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