The Triangle J Council of Governments was first organized in 1959 as the Research Triangle Regional Planning Commission. More than 50 years later, long-range planning for land use and infrastructure continues as a key program area for TJCOG, with Regional Planning now encompassing a wide range of programs covering air quality, waste reduction, water resources and other environmental initiatives, as well as administration of Foreign Trade Zone #93 and production of the Region J Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Through its Aging Services division, TJCOG works with all seven of the region's counties as the administrator and coordinator of services for the rapidly-growing population of aging adults.
Looking back . . . .
During the late 1950s, the idea for a "Research Park" along the Durham-Wake county border was in its infancy. When the Research Triangle Park (RTP) was created, the need quickly became apparent for coordination of its development with the surrounding cities, towns and counties. Pearson Stewart, then chief planner for RTP, proposed the creation of the Research Triangle Regional Planning Commission. In September 1959, Governor Luther Hodges hosted an organizational meeting among representatives from Durham, Orange and Wake counties, the cities of Durham and Raleigh, and the town of Chapel Hill. These local governments formed the Research Triangle Regional Planning Commission, naming Pearson Stewart as its secretary.
During the 1960s, interest in regional issues increased in North Carolina. This interest was associated with the many federal grant programs flourishing at the time, the need for administration of the A-95 review process for federal programs, the necessity to coordinate federal/state/local government projects, and the wisdom in promoting regional cooperation.
In 1970 Governor Bob Scott created the Councils of Government system that exists today by designating seventeen Regional Councils or Councils of Governments across the state, each identified by a letter of the alphabet. The Research Triangle Regional Planning Commission became the Triangle J Council of Governments serving the area designated as Region J—the counties of Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Orange and Wake, and the municipalities in those counties. Moore County was added to Region J in April 2001.
Today and for the future . . . .
TJCOG's work plan covers the tough issues that transcend political boundaries, achieving its work through multiple roles:
- Convener and common ground for research, project development, relationship building and information sharing;
- Coordinator of efficient regional service;
- Manager of regional planning projects;
- Administrator for regional institutions addressing development, conservation, infrastructure and the delivery of human services; and
- Provider of technical assistance and data to its member communities.