Stanly County is among the outer counties in the Charlotte region and lies in the eastern part of the region. The decline of Stanly County’s traditional manufacturing base coupled with recent improvements in highway access to Charlotte have positioned the county for a historic transition, both in its fundamental economic structure and its physical landscape.
As a result of blows to the county’s traditional manufacturing base, Stanly County’s current economic fortunes are as dim as they have been in many decades. And yet, on the western edge of the county, the new Locust Town Center serves as a symbol of the influence of the Charlotte region’s growth on Stanly County. The combined impact of the recent widening of Highway 24-27 to four lanes and the opening of the eastern leg of Interstate 485 just ten miles west of the county line has made the western part of the county more attractive for commercial and residential development.
Even as Stanly County prepares for an economic boost from the region’s continued growth, it also has an opportunity to preserve some of the remarkable natural and cultural amenities that give it a distinctive character. Stanly possesses the amenities-rich state park at Morrow Mountain which serves as a gateway to the Uwharrie National Forest, a chain of beautiful man-made reservoirs along the Yadkin-Pee Dee River, numerous small towns that have retained their historic character, and a picturesque rural landscape that already attracts cyclists from nearby Charlotte on a regular basis.