Saltwater Connections is a regional initiative aimed at sustaining livelihoods, cultural heritage, and natural resources along North Carolina’s central coast, from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke and Down East Carteret County.
The work of the program is enabled through an Innovative Economic Development Grant from the NC Rural Center. The focus area of the grant is the unincorporated communities along the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, which originates at Whalebone Junction (Nags Head) and stretches south to the North River in the village of Bettie in Carteret County.
The Saltwater Connections Resource Team approach to growing sustainable communities is modeled after Handmade in America‘s Small Town Revitalization Program, an asset-based economic development project in western North Carolina. The Handmade model is an adaptation of the National Trust for Historic Preservation‘s Main Street Four-Point Approach®. The points of focus for the Main Street® program are: Organization, Design, Promotion and Economic Restructuring. The goal for this community vitalization process is to leverage assets, whether cultural, architectural or human, in order to build a complete community vitalization plan.
Jimmy Johnson is APNEP's representative for Saltwater Connections.