Asheville’s North Carolina Arboretum is very much more than a garden space to exhibit flowers and trees native to Western North Carolina. It is also a place that just might grow jobs for the local economy as well.
The North Carolina Arboretum’s economic developer, Ron Gordon, spoke about the Arboretum’s hopes to bring in more scientific research and other, more lucrative jobs to the Asheville area.
Gordon also serves as executive director for the Centers for Environmental and Climate Interaction. With an estimate of likely workloads from federal projects, he estimates that Asheville could get almost 1,000 new jobs over the next five years and perhaps 3,000 over the next 15.
The government will probably be forced to make decisions by this spring on which climate agency will take the lead on climate change studies. Asheville should be hoping for the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), currently located downtown in the Federal Building, to lead research.
Mr. Gordon and others hope for an expensive downtown facility that would bring NCDC scientists together with local academics and businesses. This collaboration may lead to spin-off companies marketing products built out of the NCDC’s archives of satellite and weather data.