Jones County, North Carolina

April 22, 2024

Jones County, North Carolina

A County Offering the Best of Both Worlds


Offering the Best of Rural Charm and Forward Thinking Innovation in Northern Carolina

With no shortage of natural beauty, Jones County, North Carolina is a distinctive community, delivering rural tranquility and outdoor splendor, with a landscape that is as diverse as it is picturesque. Spanning 467 square miles, the county stands out for its safe communities, strategic location, and rich natural resources, offering a high quality of life to its residents. Home to vibrant towns like Trenton, Maysville, and Pollocksville, Jones County promises an enriching experience for residents and visitors alike.

County Manager, Kyle Smith states, “We have somewhat of a traditional community here in Jones County, more of a rural landscape, and a lot of forest land. We are a very ag-based county with some very historic townships incorporated that offer a small but vast range of different commodities and things to the community.”

A Thriving Community

Central to Jones County’s identity is its reputation as a safe community with a low crime rate, which Smith credits to the efforts of the sheriff’s office as well as emergency management and emergency services staff who work hard to instill a sense of security and peace of mind among residents.

Economic Development Director, John Bender, suggests that although Jones County is a rural community, the area is embracing opportunities for growth and economic development. “We have plenty of room to grow, we want to see some job creation, we want to enhance what we have currently, but we also know who we are,” he asserts. “We don’t exactly want to be like the larger cities that surround us. We take pride in the slower pace around here.”

Currently, the county is looking into grant opportunities to enhance recreation options within the community. “In Jones County, it has been tough to retain young folks,” Bender admits. “A lot of folks grew up here, then they leave, and they find jobs elsewhere and don’t come back. So, we’re trying to work on what we can do to try to keep it attractive for the younger generation.”


Fostering Economic Development

At present Jones County boasts a mix of larger companies and small manufacturing enterprises. Among the notable employers are ag-related companies like Nutrien AG Solutions and Meherrin Agriculture & Chemical Company, two of the county’s largest employers, who are located in the Trenton area. APEX, a smaller manufacturer of plastic extrusions, is based in the town of Pollocksville, along with Adams Beverage, a distributor of Budweiser products.

Martin Marietta operates a rock quarry near Maysville, providing employment opportunities to many locals past and present. Recently, Ackley Moving and Storage acquired a building in the county industrial park. “They’ll be hiring a lot of truck drivers. They do moving and storage across the United States, and they do a lot with the military,” Bender explains. “We have such a large military presence in this area, and so we are trying to attract businesses that cater to military needs.”

To entice new enterprises, the county is building a speculative building in the industrial park, addressing the shortage of available built space. Bender acknowledges, “It’s hard to attract a business with just raw land, and land is hard to come by here just due to our large agriculturally based economy. So, we’re trying to work with what little bit of land the county does have to develop some shell buildings, and that way we can have something available for these businesses to come in, in a fairly short manner.”

Bender adds that plans are underway for a joint industrial park with Craven County, which is expected to bring significant job opportunities to the area. He recounts, “The total acreage that we have performed studies on is in the 1,600 acre mark. Of course, this will be a slow build-out. When we move over to this joint park, we’re looking at a long-term growth plan.”

Bender says one advantage of partnering with Craven County on such a monumental project is the increased opportunities for extra funding from the General Assembly. He emphasizes, “It’ll be great working with Craven County on this. It will bring a ton of jobs to the area, and where it will be situated it shouldn’t have an immediate effect on the aesthetic of Jones County. We still have that small-town feel. And we love that, we are proud of that. But we also know that there’s a need for jobs. And in doing this, it can bring that slower, steady, stable growth that Jones County needs.”


Marketing the Jones County Experience

To showcase all that Jones County has to offer, efforts have gone into promoting the region through the development of television commercials that were broadcast on local channels. “We shot some points of the towns, just kids playing, we got Brock’s Mill Pond just outside of Trenton, which is the county seat, kind of enhancing the environmental aspect of Jones County and how pleasing the aesthetics can be. The rural lands can be a nice place not only to live but to raise a family in a quiet community that is safe for your kids and your family and friends,” Smith describes.

“We ran two different commercials, we did one that focused on showing the attractiveness of Jones County, and then another that was more geared towards economic development, showing our industrial park, explaining how close we are in proximity to major highways, ports, larger cities around us, military bases, whatnot,” Bender elaborates. At the end of that, I think the biggest thing for the whole deal was more of the quality of life. It was a morale boost for the county. So many folks around here complimented those commercials and loved seeing Jones County on the big screen.”

Additionally, the county maintains a strong presence on social media, primarily through Facebook, with plans to expand to platforms like Twitter for real-time updates, particularly during storm events. Smith boasts, “We’re a relatively smaller county, we have under 10,000 population-wise, and our Facebook page is up well north of 4000 followers now.”

He adds that as an older community, there is an understanding that not all residents will use social media platforms. “So, we enhanced the county website as well for those that may need the website online,” he remarks. “The updated version is more 21st century. And it’s advantageous and easy for citizens and residents and even tourists to navigate.”

Looking Ahead: Building for the Future

In 2018, Jones County faced significant challenges due to Hurricane Florence, particularly affecting communities along the Trent River. However, Smith conveys, “We’re pleased that we’re starting to see a lot of residential homes come back to Jones County. Some small parcels are being divided up into 1,2,3, and even 5 or 6-acre lots. Some small subdivisions in place have developed over time and continue to grow. Not only does this drive the tax base up, which is a plus for the county, but it also just boosts the population so that we can grow and hopefully bring more businesses.”

As it looks towards continued development, the county is focused on expanding water infrastructure, particularly to service the upcoming industrial park collaboration with Craven County. “We have a new water facility and tower just a mile south from where this County Industrial Park will be, and we will be serving that whole site with water on our end. So, we’re looking at adding two new well sites to be able to bring water to this park,” says Bender.

Moving forward, Jones County intends to maintain its tight-knit and welcoming community, while enthusiastically extending warm hospitality to all who visit. As Bender expresses, “We’re a very welcoming community. We would love for folks to come and visit Jones County. We welcome anyone to come to our community. We welcome all businesses. We want to see this place grow.”

This sentiment is echoed by Smith, who further highlights the excellence of Jones County’s public school system and its state-of-the-art facilities. He states, “Jones County Public Schools was recognized for achieving an outstanding graduation rate of 95%. We want to recognize that, and just have people understand not only that we’re a safe community, which we pride ourselves on, but we also have nice facilities within our school systems. On top of that, Jones County is poised with a group of homegrown leaders who want to see the county thrive. We have a group of people that want what’s best for this community.”

With strong leadership, community engagement, and abundant advantages, Jones County stands as a hidden gem poised for a bright future.


Jones County, North Carolina

What: A County Moving Forward with Growth and Opportunity

Where: North Carolina’s Coastal Plain Region



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