BDI maintains and distributes information on land and buildings available for development, compiles demographic data, coordinates activities with governmental and non-governmental entities and keeps abreast of State and Federal economic development programs. BDI also offers orientation tours to prospective companies to showcase the many natural resources and facilities that create the unique quality of life found in Burke County.
ElectriCities Economic Development offers a variety of services to promote NC Public Power communities to businesses and economic developers.
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The City of Morganton includes 18.55 square miles and has a population of approximately 17,000. Major cultural, medical, governmental and financial activities for Burke County are located within the city limits. Morganton is home to families of many different nationalities and cultures including people of Asian, Hispanic, Native American and Black descent.
The City enjoys a temperate climate with a mild four-season year. The environmental attributes of the area contribute to the continual growth of tourism and overall the City has achieves approximately 25% population growth in the last 20 years.Burke County is part of the growing "Unifour Region" (four counties of Burke, Caldwell, Catawba and Alexander), supporting a population over 341,000 persons. These four counties also comprise the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir Metropolitan Statistical Area [MSA].
The proximity of the Great Smokey Mountains, Lakes James, Lake Norman and major urban centers greatly enhance the physical location of the city.
The City's current property tax rate is $.46 for general tax and $.14 for municipal service district tax per $100 valuation. County property tax is .52 per $100 valuation.
Morganton is located on Interstate 40 (I-40), and the Charlotte and Asheville areas are about an hour's drive from Burke County. The Blue Ridge Parkway (perhaps the most famous highway in America) winds its way through the northwestern part of the county. Located on the Parkway are Linville Falls and pathways to Linville Gorge area, access to Table Rock Mountain, Pisgah National Forest with 92,900 acres of primitive natural environment and to Mt. Mitchell, highest peak east of the Mississippi.I-40, U.S. highways 64 and 70 and North Carolina highways 18 and 181 intersect the City's corporate limits at various points. I-85, I-77 and I-26 are within 50 miles of the City.
Southern Railway services Morganton and Burke County by rail and approximately 30 major truck carriers provide ground/freight transportation.
Charlotte's Douglas International Airport is approximately 70 miles from Morganton and offers about 500 flights per day. General aviation and charter services, as well as housing for numerous corporate and private aircraft are available at the Foothills Regional Airport approximately eight miles northeast of Morganton. This facility is a joint venture between the City of Morganton, Burke County, the City of Lenoir and Caldwell County.
Morganton strives to keep up with the ever-changing environment of local government. This is an ongoing charge to the elected officials as well as the City staff.
In October 2009, the Morganton City Council officially adopted the 2030 Comprehensive Land Development Plan. The long-range, comprehensive plan will guide investment and decision-making over the next 10 to 20 years for the City of Morganton. The policies and vision outlined in the plan were created through broad community involvement and consensus. The plan is intended to provide local leaders with guidance on development and zoning decisions in Morganton.
The plan seeks to create a vibrant central core, supported by employment and retail nodes, strong neighborhoods, and ample open spaces.
The City serves as the retail trade and employment center for a majority of the approximately 89,028 people of the County. People from the surrounding counties of Avery, McDowell, Rutherford and Cleveland work and shop in Morganton.
The growing "Unifour Region" including Burke, Caldwell, Catawba and Alexander Counties supports a population over 341,000. The four counties also comprise the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir Metropolitan Statistical Area [MSA]."Industry Week" ranked the 4-county region as the eighth best manufacturing area in the nation. In 1999 and 2001, Morganton was a finalist f the 1999 and 2001 All-America City Awards.
Principal manufacturing includes furniture and metal working, medical device manufacturing, automobile component manufacturing as well as other types of establishments providing a diversified manufacturing base. State and local government are large employers within the Morganton city limits.
With thousands of acres of national forest, scenic rivers, lakes and mountains, Morganton and Burke County are ready to claim its share of the tourism industry. In 2000, domestic tourism in Burke County generated an economic impact of almost $58 million, placing it 41st in travel impact among North Carolina's 100 counties.
The City of Morganton provides municipal water, sanitary sewer, electric and cable television and high-speed Internet services. Natural gas is available through Piedmont Natural Gas Company. Local landline and wireless telephone service is available through various providers.
The Burke County School system is recognized as one of the most progressive in the State. In addition to the public schools there are several private school alternatives including two religiously affiliated schools - Christian School and The Children's School - and a fully accredited private facility.Burke County Schools are on the forefront of the latest developments in education, focusing on meeting the needs of all children. The consolidated public school system in Burke County has about 14,600 students, 2,500 employees, one primary school, 14 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 4 high schools, an alternative school, and a school for children with special needs. All the Burke County public schools are accredited by both the State of North Carolina and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
One of the two State supported schools for the deaf is within the Morganton city limits. The duly accredited North Carolina School for the Deaf was commissioned in 1891 and opened in 1894. The school serves students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing in grades K-12. About 60% of its buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton is a public two-year college, which offers associate degrees in a variety of arts and science programs, as well as a strong curriculum in vocational and continuing education. Each year more than 2,000 students enroll in WPCC's curriculum programs, and more than 13,000 adults receive additional training through the college's Continuing Education division. The college is located on a 329-acre campus within the City limits adjacent to I-40.
The city's Main Street Office coordinates numerous downtown events and festivals, and free outdoor concerts through its TGIF concert series in May and June.
Morganton's Red, White and Bluegrass Festival is held every July 1 - 4. The festival draws bluegrass fans from across the country and globe to Morganton to enjoy four days of music from the best Bluegrass Bands in the nation. The event culminates with an exciting fireworks display that's free to the public.In September, residents and visitors enjoy the The Historic Morganton Festival - two days of rides, crafts, foods and free concerts featuring "big name" artists such as Mark Chessnutt, Chris Cagle and Lee Greenwood. The Historic Morganton Festival is the first weekend following Labor Day each year.
The Morganton Main Street Office also coordinates the annual Christmas parade, downtown carriage rides, Breakfast with Santa, Treat-or-treat in Downtown, an Easter egg hunt and other holiday events.
The City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium (COMMA) hosts 125-140 events per year including Broadway productions, concerts, meetings, art displays and receptions. During the fall of 2003, renown fresco artist, Ben Long, will create an original fresco on the ceiling of the CoMMA gallery. CoMMA seats 1058.
Grace Hospital has 184 beds and offers a broad scope of services. The hospital anchors Blue Ridge HealthCare's system of local professionals and institutions dedicated to promoting wellness and meeting lifetime healthcare needs by providing comprehensive, high quality and cost-effective services and facilities.The Blue Ridge HealthCare system currently includes:
- Valdese Hospital
- Grace Heights Health & Rehabilitation Center - full-service skilled nursing facility
- College Pines Health & Rehabilitation Center
- Grace Ridge Retirement Community
- Phifer Wellness Center - a state-of-the-art fitness center
- Blue Ridge Home HealthCare
- Blue Ridge Medical Group
Valdese Hospital, about 10 miles from Morganton, is less than a mile off I-40.This 131-bed nonprofit hospital provides a full range of medical and surgical services in pleasant surroundings designed to maximize privacy and convenience.Broughton Hospital provides high quality inpatient psychiatric care. The facility serves 35 counties in Western NC, has about 1,350 employees and provides training to intern and practicum students.
The J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center in Morganton provides comprehensive residential care to citizens from 34 counties in the western portion of the state. To be eligible for admission to the Riddle Center a person must have a diagnosis of profound or severe mental retardation, or a related developmental disability.
Auditoriums, art galleries, the annual outdoor drama "From This Day Forward," and community concert series furnish a well-balanced program of entertainment and enrichment.
The restored Old Burke County Courthouse (c. 1835) sits at the heart of Downtown Morganton and contains a heritage museum and performing arts auditorium.
The Waldensian Museum in Valdese contains artifacts of early Waldensian settlements. A traditional winemaking operation, Waldensian Heritage Winery produces a variety of wines, and offers tours and free wine tastings.
McGalliard Falls Park in Valdese features Meytre Mill, a replica of an early gristmill. A 45-foot waterfall, nature trails, tennis courts & picnic facilities are some of the highlights.
Recreation abounds in Burke County. Lake James and Lake Rhodhiss provide vast expanses for a variety of great water fun! The 6,000-acre South Mountains State Park, as well as marked trails, fields, and streams in the Blue Ridge range, supply additional outlets for hiking, hunting, trout fishing, backpacking and other enjoyment.
In addition to organized sports, residents may enjoy three 18-hole golf courses (2 of them public), driving ranges, miniature golf, two disc golf courses, batting cages, movie theaters, bowling and roller skating provide other year-round opportunities. The county's municipalities are home to some of the most comprehensive recreational facilities and programs for an area this size! In cold weather, snow skiing and other winter sports are available an hour's drive away.Lake James Park, located west of Morganton on the border with McDowell County, offers swimming, camping, picnicking, nature studies, hiking trails, boating, fishing and mountain views.
The Morganton Greenway System includes a paved and handicapped accessible walking trail, picnic shelters, restrooms, children's playground, fishing piers, a canoe launch and multilevel observation deck.
The city maintains over 364 acres for recreational use including three recreation centers and 12 park facilities. The centers include a 50-meter Olympic size outdoor pool and a 25-yard indoor pool, two gymnasiums, rooms for meetings and instructional purposes, a gymnastics spring floor and equipment, and administrative offices. The Morganton Recreation Department offers year-round activities for all ages and abilities.
City parks include 14 lighted baseball/softball fields, 15 lighted hard surface tennis courts, a lighted football stadium, a skeet/trap shooting range and a soccer complex with two professional regulation lighted soccer fields. The soccer fields include parking, field-house, restrooms, concession stand/covered picnic area and office space.
Learn more about Catawba Meadows Park.
Learn more about the Morganton Greenway System.