Inside WNC: McDowell County

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Inside WNC is a permanent feature from Carolina Public Press that profiles each of the 18 westernmost counties of North Carolina. This is your guide, including direct links, to elected officials, key agencies and departments, plus information on the county’s wages, housing, education and more.

McDowell County, N.C., map courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, via Wikipedia.

McDowell County, N.C., map courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, via Wikipedia.

McDowell County

Geography and Population

McDowell is bordered to the northwest by Yancey and Mitchell counties, Avery County to the northeast, Burke County to the east, Rutherford County to the south and Buncombe County to the west.

 

Map courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau

Map courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau maps

Land area in square miles, 2010: 440.61

Persons per square mile, 2010: 102.1
Population, 2012 estimate: 44,998

American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.7 percent
Asian: 0.9 percent
Black: 4.0 percent
Hispanic or Latino: 5.5 percent
White non-Hispanic: 88.5 percent
People reporting two or more races: 1.2 percent

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


U.S., State and Local Government

U.S. elected officials

U.S. Senate
Sen. Richard Burr (R)
Washington address: 217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3154
Fax: (202) 228-2981
Email contact form

Asheville address: Federal Building, 151 Patton Ave., Suite 204
Asheville, N.C. 28801
Phone: (828) 350-2437
Fax: (828) 350-2439

Information on Burr’s support, sponsored bills, etc. from GovTrack.us

Sen. Kay Hagan (D)
Washington address: 521 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6342
Fax: (202) 228-2563
Email contact form

Asheville address: 82 Patton Ave., Suite 635
Asheville, N.C. 28801
Phone:  (828) 257-6510
Fax: (828) 257-6514

Information on Hagan’s support, sponsored bills, etc. from GovTrack.us

U.S. House: 11th Congressional District
Rep. Mark Meadows (R)
Washington address: 1516 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6401
Email contact form

Hendersonville address: 200 N. Grove St.
Hendersonville, N.C. 28792
Phone: (828) 693-5660

Waynesville address: 285 N. Main St.
Waynesville, N.C. 28786
Phone: (828) 452-6022

Information on Meadows’ support, sponsored bills, etc. from GovTrack.us

N.C. elected officials

N.C. Senate District 47
Sen. Ralph Hise (R)
Address: N.C. Senate
16 W. Jones St., Room 1026
Raleigh, N.C. 27601-2808
Phone: (919) 733-3460 and (828) 766-8329
Email: Ralph.Hise@ncleg.net

N.C. House District 85
Rep. Josh Dobson (R)
Address: N.C. House of Representatives
16 W. Jones St., Room 1006
Raleigh, N.C. 27601-1096
Phone: (919) 733-5862
Email: Josh.Dobson@ncleg.net

County Officials and Agencies

McDowell County Commissioners
County Commissioners Chairman: Randy Hollifield
Address: County Administration Building
60 East Court St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-7121
Email: randyhollifield@yahoo.com

County Manager: Charles “Chuck” Abernathy
Address: County Administration Building
60 East Court St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-7121
Email: charlesa@mcdowellgov.com

Sheriff: Dudley Greene
Address: 593 Spaulding Road
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-2235
Email: dgreene@mcdowellsheriff.org

McDowell County Department of Social Services
Director: Phillip Hardin
Address: Social Services Building
145 E. Court St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-3355
Email: phillip.hardin@ncmail.net

McDowell County Health Department (Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District)
Address: 140 Spaulding Road
Marion, NC 28752
Health Director: Jimmy Hines
Address: 408 Spaulding Road
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-6811
Email: jhines@rpmhd.org

Member of the Isothermal Planning & Development Commission, which also includes Cleveland, Polk, and Rutherford counties.


County Seat

Marion
Population (2010): 7,838
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

City Government Office Address: 194 N. Main St., Marion, N.C. 28752

Marion City Council
Mayor: Steve Little
Address: 194 N. Main St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-3551
Email: steve@LittleandLattimore.com

City Manager: Bob Boyette
Address: 194 N. Main St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-3551
Email: bboyette@marionnc.org

Chief of Police: Allen Lawrence
Address: Marion Police Department
270 S. Main St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-5205
Email: alawrence@marionpd.org


Law Enforcement Agencies

McDowell County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff: Dudley Green
Address: 593 Spaulding Road
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-2235
Email contact form

Marion Police Department
270 S. Main St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-5205
Email: alawrence@marionpd.org


Voter Information

McDowell County Board of Elections
Director: Kimberly Welborn
Address: 60 E. Court St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-7121
Email: mcdowell.boe@gmail.com

Chairman: David Patneaude
Address: 60 E. Court St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-7121
Email: mcdowell.boe@gmail.com


Court System

Judicial District 29A
McDowell County Courthouse
Address: 21 S. Main St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 655-4100
Email: n/a

Clerk of Superior Court: Melissa Adams
Phone: (828) 655-4100
Email: n/a

District Attorney Bradley K. Greenway
Phone (McDowell County office): (828) 655-4110
Email: n/a


Economy and Employment

Unemployment rate, January 2014: 8.0 percent
Unemployment rate, January 2013: 12.0 percent
Source: N.C. Department of Commerce-Labor and Economic Analysis Division

Top three industries, by employment (2011, most current):
Manufacturing: 5,371
Retail trade: 1,534
Health care and social assistance: 1,444
Source: County Business Patterns, U.S. Census Bureau

Largest Employer (Third quarter of 2013, most current): Baxter Healthcare Corp.
Source: N.C. Department of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce, Tourism, Economic Development
Marion Business Association/City Economic Development Office
Executive Director: Freddie Killough
Address: 58 Depot St.
Marion, NC 28752
Phone: (828) 652-2215
Email: freddiek@frontier.com

McDowell Chamber of Commerce
President: Jan Allison
Address: 1170 W. Tate St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone (828)652-4240
Email contact form

McDowell County Tourism Development Authority
Address: 25 Hwy. 70 West
Old Fort, N.C. 28762
Phone: (828) 668-4282 and (888) 233-6111
Email contact form

McDowell Economic Development Association Inc. (MEDA)
Address: 25 S. Garden St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-9391
Email: medainc@frontier.com
Email contact form

Old Fort Chamber of Commerce
Address:  61 E Main St.
Old Fort, N.C.
Phone: (828) 668-7223
Email: chamber@oldfortchamber.com


Wages, Housing and Education

Per capita money income in the past 12 months (2012 dollars), 2008-2012: $19,537
Persons below poverty level 2008-2012: 19.0 percent
Median household income 2008-2012: $36,388
Median value of owner-occupied housing units 2008-2012: $100,900
High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25+, 2008-2012: 80.6 percent
Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25+, 2008-2012: 14.3 percent
Source: U.S. Census Bureau 

Number of homeless (January 2012 point-in-time count): 38
Source: North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness

Child poverty rate in McDowell County: 30.4 percent in 2012.

Screen-Shot-2014-03-04-at-7.45.10-AMSource: NC Child

Education
McDowell County Schools
Four-year cohort high school graduation rates, as of September 2013: 78.2 percent
Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction

McDowell County Board of Education
Address: McDowell County Schools
334 S. Main St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-4535
Email: n/a

Board of Education Chairman: Terry English
Address: McDowell County Schools
334 S. Main St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-4535
Email: terry.english@mcdowell.k12.nc.us

School Superintendent: Gerri Martin
Address: 334 S. Main St.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-4535
Email: n/a


Higher Education*

McDowell Technical Community College
Address: 54 College Dr.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-6021
Email: n/a
Total enrollment: 1,316 (according to National Center for Education Statistics)

McDowell Early College
Address: 54 College Dr.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 659-0411
Email: sandi.mccraw@mcdowell.k12.nc.us


Top Healthcare Providers*

McDowell County Health Department (Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District)
Address: 140 Spaulding Road
Marion, NC 28752

Health Director: Jimmy Hines
Address: 408 Spaulding Road
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 652-6811
Email: jhines@rpmhd.org

McDowell Hospital
Address: 430 Rankin Dr.
Marion, N.C. 28752
Phone: (828) 659-5000
Email contact form

HCAHPS Patient Perceptions Survey 4/2011-3/2012 rankings
Rate 9 or 10 Overall: 67 percent
Always Clean and Quiet: 69 percent


Crime and Law Enforcement

Crime Rate Per 100,000 (2012): 3,079.5
Violent Crime Rate: 151.8
Property Crime Rate: 2,927.7
Number of registered sex offenders: 82
Source: N.C. Department of Justice


*Listings are for entities headquartered in the county and do not include satellites, branches or other service information for others with operations in the county.

Contributors Kathleen O. Davis and Micah Wilkins supplied additional research to this report.

This page will be regularly updated. Contact us with updates or questions.

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About the Author

Katie Bailey

Katie Bailey is a contributing reporter and photographer with Carolina Public Press. Contact her at bkbailey@live.unc.edu.

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