Tri-County effort 'on track'
By By MICHELE GERLACH Publisher
Alabama Development Office director Neal Wade told members of the Tri County Industrial Development Authority yesterday that their efforts to move industrial recruitment in Escambia, Monroe and Conecuh counties to a regional effort are on the right track.
Wade, who heads up industrial development efforts for the State of Alabama, said there are only eight counties in the state that are not a part of a regional effort.
TCIDA chairman Yank Lovelace said the state's budget for industrial development has been cut over the past few years.
Among the initiatives the TCIDA has considered is developing a new industrial park at I-65 and Hwy. 41 in Conecuh County. Already, Atmore has purchased property at I-65 and Hwy. 21 for development.
The TCIDA was formed last year to bring a regional focus to industrial development for the three counties. The group plans to hire a director and to have as its focus the marketing and recruitment of business and industry for the area; retention and expansion of existing industry and development of future sites.
In preparing for that work, the board and an expanded committee is working with Funding Solutions, Inc., to raise operating funds. The group hopes to raise $1.5 million over a five-year period.
Wiley Blankenship of Funding Solutions told the group Tuesday that, based on interviews he's conducted in the community, he believes the timing is right for this initiative.
While in the past, communities have worked only to recruit industries for themselves, that mindset is changing, he said.
Members of the TCIDA's board and committee, along with Funding Solutions, plan to approach private and public entities beginning in the next two weeks in search of financial support for the effort.