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UNCP students support community growth

By Hannah Simpson
Around the Town Editor

In what SGA President Dwight Humphrey called an “unofficial Pembroke plan for economic growth,” the SGA and Association of Campus Entertainment (ACE) have teamed up with the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce and Red Apple Properties to promote student voter registration in Pembroke.

The cause
Greg Bryant, founder of Red Apple Properties, which builds business complexes, is collaborating in hopes that students will register to vote in Robeson County and vote for the “liquor by the drink” policy, which will allow liquor to be served in restaurants and grocery stores.

The last time “liquor by the drink” was cast to vote in Pembroke, it lost 43-57, Bryant said.

“We are not advocating drinking,” Bryant clarified. He said such a license will contribute greatly to economic growth.

“This particular thing will create business that will not necessarily sell alcohol,” Bryant said.

Students must have an off-campus, physical address; this excludes Courtyard, which is not in the city limits.

Chamber of Commerce President Robert Canida said that UNCP students have the potential to drive the economy.

The SGA and ACE are planning a “Party with a Purpose” on Sept. 12 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Porter Plaza to help raise awareness of the students’ ability to create economic growth.

Party with a Purpose
“The citizens of Pembroke are going to see the effect that the University really has,” Bryant said.

The party will be free for all students with a student I.D., Bryant said.

Jesse Dobbin, ACE Chair, will be speaking to attending students about the economic growth that their votes could induce.

Dobbin, who has resided in Pembroke since 2001, watched as McDonalds, Wal-Mart and the Domino’s complex created jobs and economic expansion.

“It will really boost the community,” Dobbin said of the plan to get students to vote.

Bryant said that the party is just the beginning of a campaign to change the economy.

A “roving register” will be initiated, in which voter registration forms will be driven to the student population.

Door to door solicitation may also be instigated.

The Pembroke Economy
Bryant said the underlying reason businesses won’t operate in Pembroke is due to inaccurate census reports on the population.

The population may seem small, Bryant said, but that’s only because the censuses use residences to tally the inhabitants.

Pembroke is a unique area in that several families live together in one house, he said.

However, it is obvious how well businesses do in Pembroke when a business is scrutinized, Bryant said.

Dominos, a complex which Red Apple Properties built, sells 100,000 pizzas a month, Bryant stated.

Mikoto’s, a complex which Bryant’s company once owned, is also doing very well, he said.

He also said that Jersey Mike’s, which recently opened across from Mikoto’s, is “making a killing.”

“We’ve got the people here, we’ve just got to get more people to get involved,” he said.

The next planning meeting for economic growth in Pembroke will be held Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

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Updated: Monday, November 5, 2007
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