This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in eastern Wake County.
Many good things were happening this week. In 2005, a drug company announced 200 new jobs in Zebulon. Twenty-five years ago, a 12-year-old won a national title for rollerblading. And 50 years ago, a horse show brought joy to the area.
Hindsight is 20-20. But a decade ago, the largest area pharmaceutical company promised an economic boost to eastern Wake.
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GlaxoSmithKline’s announcement Monday that it will inject $92 million, along with 200 new jobs, into its North Arendell building may secure the town’s biggest revenue source well into the future.
But the expansion won’t come cheap.
The town will give the pharmaceutical company a $1 million grant boost – essentially wiping out any property tax gains from the expansion for the next three years. The company will also use a $1.39 million state Job Development Investment Grant and a $500,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund. State and town officials agree the benefits will far outweigh incentives offered.
The project will add approximately $74 million to the property value at the site. With a Zebulon tax rate of 48 cents per $100 in assessed value, that means adding $355,200 per year to Zebulon’s coffers. That’s on top of the $613,000 tax haul the company poured in last year.
GSK has had a manufacturing facility in Zebulon since 1983. The company now employs about 800 people at the 918,000-square-foot facility. The $92 million will be used to renovate facilities at the site, as well as add new manufacturing equipment. The company will hire packaging line operators, manufacturing operators and mechanics over the next four years. The new employees’ average annual salary will be $30,000.
Christopher Viehbacher, GSK’s president of U.S. pharmaceuticals, said opening of the U.S. 64/264 Bypass helped with the decision. Several GSK sites were competing with the Zebulon site for the expansion.
“We need to ship our product throughout the country and internationally. So, anytime you add new infrastructure, it helps,” Viehbacher said. “Access to roads is crucial for us. But we also made the decision because we have a lot of great people already working in Zebulon.”
Twenty-five years ago, a Knightdale middle-schooler took home a national title – on wheels.
Leigh Adams, 12, of Knightdale, found thrills and wheels of gold at the rollerskating national championships last weekend in Pensacola, Fla.
Adams, 12, and partner Nairobi Good, a five-time individual champion, raced past 30 other tandems in the two-mix relay division to claim the crown.
With one lap to go in the final event, Good breezed from third place to first place and left the competition in his wake.
Good and Adams had routinely alternated with five-lap cycles before Good’s final charge to the victory stripe. Their time was two seconds away from the national record.
By earning the national-championship title, the pair reserved an automatic slot as defending champions at next year’s tournament in Philadelphia, Pa.
Adams competed in five different events. She recorded trips to the semifinals in the freshman singles bracket and the sophomore two-women relay.
Fifty years ago, sponsors lauded a horse show in Zebulon and promised more to come.
A horse show held here Sunday afternoon was termed “successful” by members of the Zebulon Shrine Club, sponsors of the event.
Almost 30 classes were open to horse lovers at the event held at the fairgrounds.
“I feel the show was very successful,” M.L. Hagwood, president of the club, said.
Because of the success of the show, Hagwood said plans are being formulated to have two of the shows annually. One show will be held in the spring; the other in the fall.
Robert D. Massey, past president of the club, said: “I am very pleased with way the show went. I feel that all those persons who attended it enjoyed it very much.”
Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Wall Jr. of Knightdale, Mustang horse show promoters, said it was “one of the finest shows we have ever put on in North Carolina.”
Proceeds from the show will be used for Shrine club activities, Hagwood said.
It was estimated that approximately 1,000 persons attended the event.