Browning Lands Dream Job: Newport Hires New Economic Development Coordinator



By Dylan Marsh EAGLE TIMES STAFF

Newport’s Economic Development Coordinator Allison Paige Browning.

Photo Courtesy of the Town of Newport’s Facebook Page


NEWPORT — The town of Newport has hired their newest Economic Development Coordinator.


Allison Paige Browning comes to Newport having recently graduated from the University Of North Carolina-Wilmington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. Browning, who hails from Whiteville, North Carolina, had not traveled to New England prior to applying for this job but says she “Fell in love with the town and how it’s very small and interconnected. Everyone has been so welcoming here.”


The position became open when previous Economic Development Coordinator Christine Benner left the position after, according to Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg, around a year and a half. Browning says that she finished obtaining her degree and saw that the position, which she says is her dream job, was available.


“I applied on a long shot and was so excited when I heard back,” Browning said.


Browning feels that the position is ultimately about advocating for the community in which she works and has come to love. She says that with the town being so community based that her focus is to help “bring up infrastructure and helping small businesses to grow”. Some of the larger community projects that the town management has upcoming are the dog park, community garden, as well as the ongoing community center saga. Rieseberg recently stated that the expected construction budget for the community center is roughly $8.5 million and the town has somewhere around $7.8 million accounted for, and that the town with the help of Browning is working diligently to close that gap. According to Rieseberg, should everything go according to plan, the project will receive additional funding around November or December, be sent out to bid in January and construction could begin in the spring.


“[Browning’s] candidacy was the result of a lengthy search. She was interviewed by a number of relevant community members including representatives from chamber of commerce as well as the school of course, because half of her time is dedicated to the school. We concluded that Allison brings a great deal of enthusiasm and a great attitude and a great deal of understanding of the importance of housing in the area,” Rieseberg said of the new hire.


Her time with the school will be pushing forward a program called “School To Work”, a program intended to help students in the area work toward building career skills. Students from the school will have the opportunity to intern at local businesses within the community. Browning said she is looking forward to working with this program and connecting with students at the school.


Browning will also be working on a number of other upcoming projects in the town of Newport including work at the WasteWater Treatment Plant, efforts regarding a well in North Newport, as well as working alongside the Department of Energy in regard to a grant for new windows and an HVAC system for town offices.


“I’ve always thought of economics as analytical but economic development gives you the opportunity to interconnect the social aspects. You can take the numbers and apply that to the people living in your community to make changes that you can really see taking place,” Browning said.

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