Strategic Initiatives

The Office of Strategy helps to lead and partners with community organizations on strategic initiatives and projects in New Hanover County.

Intelligent Growth & Economic Development

Blue Clay Road Business Park

In 2008 New Hanover County purchased approximately 120 acres of property adjacent to the detention facility on Blue Clay Road for future expansion of the jail and court system. Due to efficiencies gained in jail diversion programs, it was determined this property was no longer needed for this purpose. Therefore, almost ten years later, the County initiated a due diligence study to determine if the market would support the site being converted into a business park and a supporting master plan for the site. The plan for development was completed and the site became a part of the Duke site readiness program in 2019. Utilizing resources that were made available with the American Rescue Plan, the county was able to initiate the design and construction of important water and sewer infrastructure as well as access roads that turned 120 acres of property into a full-scale business park with rail access. Working with our economic development partners, Wilmington Business Development, the county intends to sell parcels to businesses looking to expand or relocate to New Hanover County. This project is currently underway with an anticipated completion date towards the end of 2022.

Project Grace

New Hanover County is in the unique position of owning an entire city-block in downtown Wilmington. This block currently includes a New Hanover County Library and a 640-space parking garage, but a large portion of the block is underutilized. The vision for this block is to house a modern public library and Cape Fear Museum, better utilize the parking garage, and include private space for retail, residential, office, or hotel opportunities. In July 2017, a feasibility study was conducted outlining a path forward. The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners unanimously directed staff to proceed with issuing a Request for Proposals from project teams, which explores the options of entering into a public-private partnership.

For more information about the evolving Project Grace please view the Project Grace page.

US 421 Water & Sewer Extension

New Hanover County has worked with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and other partners to extend water and sewer service along the U.S. Highway 421 corridor. This expansion, completed December 2019, brings new development opportunities, more jobs, and economic growth for to this region.

Superior Education & Workforce Development

PaSS Program with Communities in Schools Cape Fear

During the 2018-19 school year, New Hanover County partnered with Communities in Schools of Cape Fear to mentor third and fourth-grade students in preparation for their End of Grade tests. Twenty-eight employees from the county's SERVE Professional Development Academy participated, tutoring students at Alderman Elementary School.

This partnership is through Communities in Schools of Cape Fear's PaSS Program, which provides volunteer opportunities for mentors to be paired with a student who is at risk of not reading at grade level. County employees and students met once a week for 10 weeks to read one-on-one and practice reading comprehension skills.

Teacher Incentives

Teacher incentives for kindergarten through third grade teachers in hard‐to‐staff schools to receive National Board Certification, a reading training program for teachers working in schools with the greatest disparity in student performance, and a Workforce Housing Gap Rental Assistance Program to alleviate the housing cost burden for 12 teachers in hard-to-staff schools. These incentives are designed to retain teachers in hard to staff schools and provide consistency to students


New Hanover County is partnering with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, New Hanover County Schools, and Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) on an apprenticeship program to develop a workforce pipeline from our local high schools to successful careers and professional readiness.

Superior Public Health & Safety

Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Strategic Plan

View the Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Strategic Plan

Community Investments & Resources to Ensure School Safety & Reduce Community Violence

View the Community Investments and Resources page.

Health & Human Services Strategic Plan

View the Health and Human Services page.

In 2019, New Hanover County’s Department of Social Services and Health Department consolidated to form a new Health and Human Services Department. Prior to this consolidation, the Department of Social Services and the Health Department were governed by their own boards and were not subject to New Hanover County personnel policies. Consolidating two distinct organizations into one cohesive department created an opportunity to develop a strategic plan for the newly consolidated Health and Human Services team to collaborate around a central vision, core mission, and desired outcomes. Working together towards one common purpose helped both organizations provide wrap around services to our residents and meet the needs of our community more effectively.

Senior Resources Center Master Aging Plan

The office of Strategy supported the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center to develop a five-year Master Aging Plan (MAP) that will shape the resources and services for older adults who have a wide range of needs, now and into the future. This is the first Master Aging Plan for New Hanover County and the first in the four-county region.

The Master Aging Plan ensures New Hanover County has a comprehensive and coordinated approach to support and foster lifelong community engagement and well-being. The plan connects our older adults with the community and with one another; creates an inclusive, diverse, age-friendly strategic guide; and empowers our residents to thrive in New Hanover County.