Published: Oct 20, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Oct 19, 2012 05:27 PM
CHAPEL HILL - Chapel Hill’s former economic development director says he’s coming back to finish what he started.
Dwight Bassett, who left the town in March for a similar position in Raleigh, will return to Chapel Hill’s economic development office Nov. 1.
The town had been searching nationwide for his replacement, with little progress, Town Manager Roger Stancil said.
“It’s a really good coming together of interests, and I’m glad he’s able to come back,” Stancil said. “It’s good to work with somebody who already knows us.”
Bassett started with Chapel Hill in 2007, just a year after the town formally started pursuing economic development activities. He has nearly 24 years of experience in urban and economic development.
The subject of coming back to Chapel Hill came up in conversations he had with Stancil two or three weeks ago, he said.
Bassett said he accused Stancil of “planting” the idea, because so many people from the Chapel Hill area reached out to him about returning.
It was like “family calling (me) to come home,” he said.
Although he’s been gone seven months, he has watched from a distance as the projects he worked on “start to become a reality.”
“It just seemed like a good opportunity for me, at this time in my career, to see the parts through,” he said.
Bassett said he’s excited about returning to the Ephesus/Fordham Boulevard Small Area Plan. He also wants to make the town’s new Rosemary Street business incubator, which he called “an innovative, key component,” and developments being planned for the edge of town on Eubanks Road a priority, he said.
Bassett’s salary in Raleigh was $97,350. He was making $87,731 when he left Chapel Hill but will get this year’s 3 percent employee raise when he returns, plus a little extra, Stancil said.